Wirral Wonder Steve Cummings received a late call up to the British Olympic Road Racing team yesterday when Peter Kennaugh withdrew after failing to recover full fitness following broken a collarbone in The Tour of California in May.
35 year old Cummings has shown fantastic form this season with four victories, most notably his Stage 7 win in the Tour de France when he left the peloton trailing on a 27km solo attack. Looking like a man with something to prove, his aggressive ride up the Col d’Aspin seems to have caught the attention of the selectors whose original choice had raised a few eyebrows. Cummings himself had openly criticized his non-selection, even calling for the resignation of coach, Rod Ellingworth.
Somewhat of a maverick, Cummings has struggled to fit in with the highly structured approach of some of the teams he has ridden for like Team Sky. Joining MTN-Qubeka last year (now Dimension Data) has injected him with a new lease of life with manager Brian Smith giving him the freedom to race as he wanted. As he says, “Dimension Data have given me freedom, opportunity and belief.”
The hilly Rio course should suit Cummings' abilities and he will be a strong addition to an impressive five man squad which includes Chris Froome, Geraint Thomas, Adam Yates and Ian Stannard. Meanwhile, fellow Dimension Data teammate Mark Cavendish, withdrew from the Tour de France last night to concentrate on his own Olympic preparations where he will be racing on the track for an Omnium medal.