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National time trial champion says he was "surprised" at being named as riding in discipline he hadn't trained for...

Steve Cummings has withdrawn from the Great Britain team for next week's UCI Road World Championships in Bergen, Norway, saying he was "surprised" to learn last week that he had been selected as one of two riders in the time trial, giving him insufficient time to prepare for the event.

In June on the Isle of Man, the 36-year-old achieved the rare distinction of winning the national titles in the road race and the individual time trial. His victories marked a remarkable comeback from injury, coming just two months after he underwent surgery after sustaining multiple fractures in a crash at the Tour of the Basque Country.

In a statement released via British Cycling, he said that he had initially been told that he would be reserve for the time trial, so instead focused on preparing for the road race - an event for which he was not selected when the team was announced this week.

His place in next Wednesday's event will be taken by Tao Geoghehan Hart, with Great Britain's other representative, fellow Team Sky rider Chris Froome looking to add the rainbow jersey to his historic Tour de France and Vuelta double.

Cummings, who revealed last month that he had finished the Tour de France with two broken vertebrae,  said: “On 15 August I was told I would be reserve for the time trial so I decided to focus on one day races such as the worlds, the Canada GPs and some Italian races. 

"I was surprised to learn eight days before the worlds I had been selected for the time trial. I can't prepare for the worlds time trial event 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.  For me to do a proper job it takes specific training in order to produce a good time trial performance and I haven't been training on my time trial bike as I was concentrating on the road race.

"Given that I won't be able to give my best, it would be appropriate to give the opportunity to another rider.

“I'm a little surprised and disappointed with not making the world's road race team," he added. 

"But I have to respect the selection process, and wish all the lads well. I will focus on the remaining Italian races for my team.”
British Cycling’s performance director Stephen Park commented: “It’s disappointing that Steve has decided to withdraw himself from the time trial event, but we respect his decision and understand that he is motivated to turn his focus elsewhere.

"I am sure there will be plenty more opportunities for Steve to represent Great Britain in the future.

“This now gives Tao the chance to compete in the elite men’s time trial which I’m sure is an opportunity he will relish,” he added.

 

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.