Britain’s Steve Cummings (BMC Racing) continued his home nation’s success on the world’s biggest cycling stages by winning stage 13 of the Vuelta a Espana.
The 31-year-old silver medalist, a member of Great Britain’s silver medal winning team pursuit squad at the 2004 Athens Olympics, soloed to victory from an escape group.
Cummings survived a dogged pursuit from a high-quality partnership comprising Cameron Meyer (Orica-GreenEDGE) and Juan Antonio Flecha (Team Sky) to win his first Grand Tour stage.
He said: “I tried to wait as long as possible.
“I think I played it really well. I just waited for a good opportunity. With a kilometer to go, I saw them sit up, so I knew I’d won; so I could enjoy it a bit more. But before then, it was head-down, go-as-hard-as-I-could, because they weren’t far behind.”
The Wirral man joins his former colleagues at Team Sky, Bradley Wiggins, Mark Cavendish, and Chris Froome, and Garmin-Sharp’s David Millar, by collecting a Grand Tour stage win in 2012.
He held on to finish just four seconds ahead of Meyer and Flecha despite riding the last four kilometres alone.
His victory on the largely flat, 172.8km stage from Santiago de Compostela to Ferrol combined with a day of truce between the top four riders meant there was no change on the general classification.
All that could change tomorrow, however, when the race makes its first entry into the high mountains, on a climb laden, 142.9km stage from Palas de Rei to Puerto de Ancares which concludes at 1,470 metres.
Battle is expected to resume between race leader, Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) a winner of two stages, multiple Grand Tour winner, Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank), second overall, third placed Froome, and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), another double stage winner.
Contador warned earlier this week that the race would move into his ‘territory’ on Saturday after a series of stages he likened to one day classics.
Froome will attempt to reprise his form of the Tour de France, where he showed strength in the mountains to match any of his rivals.
Vuelta a Espana stage 13 – result
1) Stephen Cummings (GBR) – BMC Racing – 4.05.02
2) Cameron Meyer (AUS) – Orica-GreenEdge +4”
3) Juan Antonio Flecha (SPA) – Team Sky – ST
4) Simon Clarke (AUS) – Orica-GreenEdge +14”
5) Linus Gerdemann (GER) – Radioshack-Nissan-Trek
6) Thomas De Gendt (BEL) – Vacansoleil-DCM
7) John Degenkolb (GER) – Argos-Shimano +40”
8) Allan Davis (AUS) – Orica-GreenEdge
9) Ben Swift (GBR) – Team Sky
10) Lloyd Mondory (F- RA) AG2R-La Mondiale
1) Joaquim Rodriguez (SPA) – Katusha – 48.56.17
2) Alberto Contador (SPA) – Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank +13”
3) Christopher Froome (GBR) – Team Sky +51”
4) Alejandro Valverde (SPA) – Movistar +1.20
5) Robert Gesink (NED) – Rabobank +2.59
6) Daniel Moreno (SPA) – Katusha +3.29
7) Nicolas Roche (IRL) – AG2R-La Mondiale +4.22
8) Andrew Talansky (USA) – Garmin-Sharp +5.17
9) Laurens Ten Dam (NE- D) Rabobank +5.18
10) Bauke Mollema (NED) Rabobank +6.01