Cum­mings saves his ‘best win’ for Tour

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT -

BRI­TON Stephen Cum­mings pow­ered away on the Col d’Aspin to claim a se­cond ca­reer Tour de France stage win as GC con­tender Thibaut Pinot cracked in a seventh stage that ended in chaos yes­ter­day.

As Di­men­sion Data’s Cum­mings cel­e­brated his stun­ning solo win, back down the road the in­flat­able arch mark­ing 1km to go de­flated and slowed down the bunch, even send­ing fel­low Bri­ton Adam Yates crash­ing.

Or­gan­is­ers said they would prob­a­bly take into ac­count the times at the 3km mark. Bel­gian Greg Van Avermaet re­tained the overall leader’s yel­low jer­sey.

Cum­mings, who last year won in Mende, jumped away from the day’s break­away and held off 2014 Tour cham­pion Vin­cenzo Nibali on the Col d’Aspin, the first big climb this year, be­fore de­scend­ing safely to the Lac de Pay­olle to give his African- based team their fourth stage win this year.

Mark Cavendish had al­ready won three sprints and Cum­mings showed again that Di­men­sion Data could also play a role in the moun­tains as the Tour en­tered the Pyre­nees.

“Of all my vic­to­ries, I think it’s the best one. The Tour is the Tour, it’s spe­cial,” Cum­mings said. “I didn’t need to win a stage this year. I had a dif­fer­ent con­di­tion from last year as I started the Tour rid­ing for Mark (Cavendish) who is such a win­ner and an in­spi­ra­tion. It’s bril­liant, it’s fan­tas­tic.”

In the main bunch, Pinot’s FDJ team pulled in front at the foot of Aspin, a 12km as­cent at an average gra­di­ent of 6.5%, but the French­man, third in the 2014 Tour and one of the top favourites, was then dropped, his face a mask of pain.

He crossed the line more than twoand-a-half min­utes be­hind the other top guns. South African Daryl Im­pey (Orica-Bike Ex­change) was se­cond and Spain’s Dani Navarri (Cofidis) took third place 1: 05 be­hind Cum­mings.

Cum­mings was part of a 29-man break­away that split into sev­eral groups with about 30km left. He at­tacked with 27km re­main­ing and never looked back.

Van Avermaet, who man­aged to be in the day’s break, took fifth place, over a minute ahead of the top favourites to ex­tend his lead to 6:36 over France’s Ju­lian Alaphilippe and 6:38 over Spain’s Ale­jan­dro Valverde.

De­fend­ing cham­pion Chris Froome and last year’s run­ner-up Nairo Quin­tana stayed fifth and seventh re­spec­tively, both 6:42 off the pace. – Reuters

STEPHEN CUM­MINGS: Stun­ning run

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