Volta ao Algarve leader Cummings stiff and sore after two crashes
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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Volta ao Algarve leader Cummings stiff and sore after two crashes

by Conal Andrews at 3:15 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Volta ao Algarve
British Sky Procycling rider holds slender lead heading into final time trial

Steve CummingsBattered and bruised, Team Sky’s Steve Cummings ended the penultimate stage of the Volta ao Algarve holding his six second lead over Alberto Contador, but shaking his head about a very unlucky day.

The Briton hit the deck in the feed zone, with his team-mate Simon Gerrans also going down in the accident and landing on top of him. He then tumbled again later on, a sequence of events his directeur sportif Sean Yates clearly rues.

“The pace of the bunch was too fast going into it [the feed zone] and that's what caused him to fall,” he explained. “Simon also landed on top of him and Steve was pretty battered and bruised as a result. The other guys waited for them and got things going again as the sprinters' teams came to the fore, but then in the final ten kilometres Steve clipped a wheel and went right over his handlebars.”

Unbelievably, the misfortune didn’t end there. “The rest of the team were right there for him again but as they screamed down the next descent there was another crash ahead. That halted them and meant they were right off the back.”

Yates said that Garmin-Cervélo’s David Millar was also in the group and he dug in, helping them all to get back on. It was close, but they made it.

Cummings will start the time trial six seconds ahead of Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank SunGard), ten up on Tony Martin (HTC Highroad) and twelve ahead of Tejay Van Garderen (also HTC Highroad).

Given their pedigree, Yates recognises that it will be a tough task. This is particularly the case due to todays’ events, but Cummings and Team Sky will battle all the way.

“Steve's cut up quite badly right now and in a bit of shock,” he said. “But nothing's torn or broken and he'll calm down overnight. Hopefully he won't be too hindered tomorrow.

"It's going to be a really tall order for him to hang on to the jersey because it's not just Contador who's close behind him, there are also guys like Andreas Klöden (RadioShack), Tony Martin (HTC-Highroad), Tejay Van Garderen (HTC-Highroad) and Tiago Machado (RadioShack). He'll give it 100% though and we'll just have to see what happens.”

The team has taken three wins thus far this season: Ben Swift’s two victories in the Santos Tour Down Under, and then Cummings’ surprise mountain-top win yesterday. The race has already been a success but the chance to take the overall means they will think big leading up to the race against the clock.


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