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Steve Cummings, on the podium and the overall race leader. (©BMC/Graham Watson.)
Steve Cummings, on the podium and the overall race leader. (©BMC/Graham Watson.)

BMC Racing Team's Cummings Leads Tour Méditerranéen

15. febbraio 2014

Stephen Cummings of the BMC Racing Team won Saturday's individual time trial at the Tour Méditerranéen Saturday to take the overall lead with one stage to go.

'Knew The Course Well'
Cummings and his BMC timemachine TM01 blazed to a time of 24:27 on the undulating, 18.2-kilometer course, four seconds faster than runner-up Riccardo Zoidl (Trek Factory Racing) and 10 seconds better than Sylvain Chavel (IAM Cycling), who was third. In the overall standings, Cummings holds the same margins ahead of Sunday's finale, a 192.7-km race that finishes with the ascent of Mont Faron. "It was a good time trial for me," Cummings said. "I like these kinds of climbs that aren't too steep. It was a little bit technical, but we looked at it last week. So I knew the course well. The team has been really strong. We have always stayed together. I have really enjoyed it so far."

Team's Fourth Victory
The victory in the afternoon stage of a double-stage day was the BMC Racing Team's fourth of the year and Cummings's first since winning the final stage of the Tour of Beijing in 2012. This also marks the first time since 2011 that he has led a race overall. That year, he won Stage 3 at the Volta ao Algarve and held the lead for two days before finishing sixth. Earlier this month at the Dubai Tour, Cummings placed second overall to teammate Taylor Phinney, who was 12th Saturday in the time trial, 50 seconds back. BMC Racing Team's Ben Hermans (eighth, at 43 seconds) and Yannick Eijssen (19th, at 1:02) were also in the top 20.

Objective Was The Time Trial
BMC Racing Team Sport Director Yvon Ledanois said the winning result was a culmination of hard work put in by the entire squad during the three road stages preceding the time trial. "Every day, Steve finished with the first bunch, in the same time, which was very important," Ledanois said. "Our objective for him was the time trial. We spoke to him and told him there was no pressure. Now I will speak with (Sport Director) Max Sciandri for the strategy for the last day. With the jersey, the pressure is on us. But it is not a problem. We have a trust with the riders – with Ben, Yannick, Amaël (Moinard) and also with Thor Hushovd, Klaas Lodewyck and Taylor for the first part of the stage."

Hushovd Runner-Up In Morning Stage
In the morning's 63-km road race, Hushovd enjoyed his best result of the season, finishing second to John Degenkolb (Team Giant-Shimano), who won his third consecutive stage. Hushovd said he felt good during the "short, nervous stage" that saw the peloton split into several groups at one point. "The bunch was going really fast up the last climb, with 10 km to go, and I was there in the front, quite confident, feeling good on the climb," Hushovd said. The reigning Norwegian national road champion said he tried to surprise Degenkolb in the sprint, which was into a headwind. "I tried to jump him before he started his sprint," he said. "But he had the best legs, so he kind of controlled me. But I am happy I was second. I am there and the legs are starting to get better. So it looks good for the next several weeks."

Listen to complete comments from Cummings, Hushovd and Ledanois on the BMC Racing Team Audio Line.

Click here to view photos from the race.