Stephen Cummings (Dimension Data) went from team player to stage winner after a strong ride into Foligno on stage 4 of Tirreno-Adriatico. Cummings attacked his escape group inside the final three kilometres and soloed to the line to take victory ahead of Salvatore Puccio (Team Sky) and his teammate Natnael Berhane.
“We were trying to do a stage for Edvald Boasson Hagen, we thought that he was the best chance for today. He’s in super form, so I was there as the policeman but it came to 3km and normally I can do 3km alone. I tried to do that strategy. I don’t know if that was ok but it seemed to work out,” Cummings said before collecting his prize for stage winner.
“I was pretty confident and pretty aero on the bike. Everybody else had been pulling and I hadn’t been pulling. It was good having Edvald behind because it meant that I didn’t have to do any work. It was a great team performance and I was just lucky at the end.”
After chasing down several attacks in the final 20 kilometres to keep his teammate Edvald Boasson Hagen in contention, Cummings found himself in the race-winning move. It had been instigated by Matteo Montaguti (AG2R La Mondiale) at the foot of the final climb, and the Dimension Data rider quickly joined along with Puccio. With his teammate still behind, Cummings was able to sit on the bunch, refusing to budge despite insistence from Puccio.
The pace was high in the bunch and it took time for them to build any sort of advantage. Before they were too far up the road, three more riders joined them, and they were Berhane, Jan Bakelants (AG2R La Mondiale) and Daniel Moreno (Movistar). As Puccio did most of the work, Cummings laid in wait for the perfect moment.
A strong time triallist, Cummings knew that he could hold a quick pace over the three kilometres remaining. The 34-year-old was able to take advantage of the indecision behind, with nobody willing to step forward and bring him back. Cummings continued to build his advantage and would eventually cross the line 13 seconds ahead of the chasers, plenty of time to enjoy his celebration.
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