Team Sky chasing first European win this week
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Monday, February 1, 2010

Team Sky chasing first European win this week

by Conal Andrews at 7:23 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling

Confidence buoyed by Steve Cummings’ fine fourth place yesterday in GP Cycliste la Marseillaise, Team Sky will line out in the five-day Etoile de Bessèges on Wednesday aiming to take its first European win.

Cummings infiltrated a ten-man breakaway group on the final climb of the French event and was fourth in the gallop to the line, finishing just behind winner Jonathan Hivert (Saur Sojasun), Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil) and Samuel Dumoulin (Cofidis).

“Of course I'd have liked to have won but it was a pretty good start,” the 28 year old said afterwards. “There were plenty of attacks going on, especially from the second-last climb, and I was able to respond. I felt really strong throughout the race."

The team made its racing debut last month in the Cancer Council Helpline Classic in Adelaide. Greg Henderson and Chris Sutton finished first and second there, then reversed these placings on the final stage of the Santos Tour Down Under.

Henderson also finished third overall in the ProTour race, 15 seconds behind race winner André Greipel (HTC Columbia).

Cumming’s placing yesterday will motivate the team to chase that first European win. His solid performance came despite a recent infection, which made his preparation less than ideal. “That's just something you have to deal with now and then," he said. "I feel like I'm at a good level all year round now and that enables me to recover quickly and take it in my stride."

Directeur sportif Marcus Ljungqvist was satisfied with the result. "Team Sky got off to a great start in Australia [at the Tour Down Under] and I think we did pretty well here on our debut in Europe."

Cummings predicted a good display in Bessèges, which begins in two day’s time and runs until Sunday. He said that the riders were happy with the set-up, implying that success will follow.

“There's just a really good vibe around the squad. We're all looking out for each other and it's excellent to be part of that."

He, Michael Barry, Morris Possoni, Nicolas Portal, John-Lee Augustyn, Sylvain Calzati and neo-pro Peter Kennaugh will form the team selection for the 2.1-ranked French event.



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