British Cycling and the British Olympic Association announced Tuesday that Stephen Cummings (Dimension Data) has replaced Peter Kennaugh (Team Sky) on the team heading to the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in August. According to a press release from the national governing body, Kennaugh withdrew himself from the men's road team.
The press release noted that Kennaugh has volunteered to step down after struggling for form since returning from breaking his right collarbone in the Tour of California two months ago, and that Cummings was the first reserve for Rio and he accepted the place.
"London 2012 was one of the highlights of my career so I am gutted to be missing out on Rio but, knowing that I am not able to give my best, I felt it was my duty to withdraw," Kennaugh said.
With regard to Kennaugh volunteering to give up his place, British Cycling programmes director Andy Harrison said, "I am disappointed for Pete but I respect his decision and I'm sure he can bounce back and finish his season strongly. Clearly Steve is in excellent form and I'm certain he will do Team GB proud."
British Cycling announced the men's road team in June to include Kennaugh along with Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas, Adam Yates and Ian Stannard. But it was considered a controversial selection because of the absence of Cummings, who this year alone has won stages at Tirreno-Adriatico, Pais Vasco, Criterium du Dauphine and most recently in stage 7 at the Tour de France.
In addition, the initial selection included all Team Sky riders with the exception of Yates, who competes on the road for Orica-BikeExchange. After his Olympic snub, Cummings called for Rod Ellingworth to be replaced as Great Britain's road race coach due to a 'conflict of interest' between his role for British Cycling and his duties at Team Sky. "I criticise the coach. I criticise the tactics, I criticise the selection criteria, and I criticise British Cycling," Cummings said at the time.
In British Cycling's press release, however, Ellingworth said "As always when selecting a team for a road race, the ideal situation is to leave the decision as late as possible as it's difficult to predict riders' form and health so far out.
"Since the selection panel made the original decision, there's been 38 days of WorldTour racing during which time we've had some excellent results from the British Cycling squad, for example we've had British riders wear the yellow, green and white jerseys at the Tour de France.
"I'm confident that with this team, Team GB can be competitive at the men's road race in Rio."
Cummings is pleased to be added to the Olympic team saying, "I've shown over the 2016 season to date that I am in great shape and I look forward to going to Rio to represent my country and hopefully we as a team come back with a medal from the road race."
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