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Cummings comes through in Tuscany

Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka got off to a great start in the Giro della Toscana when Steve Cummings sprinted to victory on the opening stage.

The takeaway here: Britain’s reigning road and time-trial champ knows best. After initially being named as a reserve ITT rider at the 2017 UCI Road World Championships, Cummings focused on training for road races with Team Dimension Data. So when he found out he would be racing for Britain just eight days before the ITT, he did the sensible thing: He turned down the invitation.

“I can't prepare for the Worlds TT in eight days from what I'm coming off. So I don't feel I can do myself justice and would prefer to concentrate on other goals for my team," Cummings told Cyclingnews. "For me to do a proper job it takes specific training in order to produce a good TT performance, and I haven't been training on my (Cervelo P5) TT bike as I was concentrating on road racing. Given that I won't be able to give my best, it would be appropriate to give the opportunity to another rider."

Takeaway No. 2: A healthy and prepared Steve Cummings wins races. In its first competition after Worlds, DiData’s strong and versatile Giro della Toscana team took control of Stage 1 from the start. A group of four riders managed to get away after 15km, but the quartet was never allowed a gap of more than just a couple of minutes. With both Mark Cavendish and Ryan Gibbons on hand for a possible sprint finish, DiData made sure to keep the breakaway within reach, and with about 40km to go the field came back together again. Cue the counterattacks, with Cummings joining a four-rider group that quickly forged a gap of nearly one minute on the peloton. In the end, the break managed to keep the pack at bay and fight for victory, with Cummings timing his sprint to perfection to take both the stage victory and the overall lead on his Cervelo Team Edition S5.

“I just stayed calm, waited, and then went full gas after the climb,” Cummings said. “It turned out to be a good tactic. Towards the end, we were going so fast at the front that there wasn’t an opportunity to split the group so I just waited for the sprint. I let it all out there and I’m just really happy now.”