Britain's Steve Cummings of BMC Racing this afternoon pulled off the biggest win of his career to take Stage 13 of the Vuelta in Ferro, the fomer team pursuit world champion attacking from a small breakaway group 3 kilometres out and time trialling his way to the finish.
The 31-year-old from the Wirral, who has endured a tough year after breaking his pelvis in the Tour of Algarve in February and his wrist in May's Tour of California, dug deep as he headed to the line pursued by another man who has won a rainbow jersey in the team pursuit, Orica-GreenEdge's Cameron Meyer.
The Australian finished second, ahead of Cummings' former Team Sky colleague Juan Antonio Flecha. Joaquin Rodriguez of Katusha retains the race leader's red jersey ahead of four consecutive stages featuring summit finishes that will go a long way towards deciding the overall winner of this year's race.
The break of seven riders that produced the men who contested the finale got clear around a quarter of a way through the 173-kilometre stage from the pilgrimage destination of Santiago de Compostela, shortly after a bigger group of 24 riders had been brought back by the peloton.
Besides Meyer, who had figured in that previous break, Flecha and Cummings, the group also featured two other riders who have enjoyed success on the track, Orica-GreenEdge’s Simon Clarke and Liquigas-Cannondale’s Elia Viviani, plus RadioShack-Nissan’s Linus Gerdemann, Thomas De Gendt of Vacansoleil-DCM,
It was a strong group, and while their advantage stood at around just 2 minutes with 50 kilometres left to ride as Argos-Shimano, hunting a fifth stage win for sprinter John Degenkolb, led the chase, only half of that margin was erased over the next 35 kilometres as other teams declined to join in the chase with some hard days in the mountains to come.
FDJ-BigMat might ordinarily have been expected to help, with Nacer Bouhanni having emerged as one of the main challengers to Degenkolb’s domination of the sprints, but the French champion, involved in a crash yesterday,had abandoned with aroud 55 kilometres still to ride.
Coming into the final 6 kilometres, Flecha was first to attack from the front group, Cummings the leading the response as he set off after his former team mate.
Over the next couple of kilometres, the group reformed but when Cummings himself attacked, only Flecha and Meyer had sufficient energy left to attempt to chase him down – but not enough to actually catch him as the one British rider in this year’s Tour de France not to win a stage became the first to notch up a victory in this year’s Vuelta.
Vuelta Stage 13 Result 1 CUMMINGS, Stephen BMC 4h 05' 02'' 2 MEYER, Cameron OGE + 4'' 3 FLECHA, Juan Antonio SKY 4 CLARKE, Simon OGE + 14'' 5 GERDEMANN, Linus RNT 6 DE GENDT, Thomas VCD 7 DEGENKOLB, John ARG + 40'' 8 DAVIS, Allan OGE 9 SWIFT, Ben SKY 10 MONDORY, Lloyd ALM 11 CIMOLAI, Davide LAM 12 LAGUTIN, Sergey VCD 13 FERNÁNDEZ, Koldo GRS 14 DUQUE, Leonardo COF 15 DALL'ANTONIA, Tiziano LIQ 16 GARCIA, Egoitz COF 17 BENNATI, Daniele RNT 18 MEERSMAN, Gianni LTB 19 BONNET, William FDJ 20 PÉREZ, Rubén EUS Last man home on Stage 13 188 JI, Cheng ARG + 15' 24'' General Classification after Stage 13 1 RODRIGUEZ, Joaquin KAT 48h 56' 17'' 2 CONTADOR, Alberto STB + 13'' 3 FROOME, Christopher SKY + 51'' 4 VALVERDE, Alejandro MOV + 1' 20'' 5 GESINK, Robert RAB + 2' 59'' 6 MORENO, Daniel KAT + 3' 29'' 7 ROCHE, Nicolas ALM + 4' 22'' 8 TALANSKY, Andrew GRS + 5' 17'' 9 TEN DAM, Laurens RAB + 5' 18'' 10 MOLLEMA, Bauke RAB + 6' 01'' Points Classification after Stage 13 1 RODRIGUEZ, Joaquin KAT 119 2 DEGENKOLB, John ARG 112 3 VALVERDE, Alejandro MOV 106 4 CONTADOR, Alberto STB 86 5 FROOME, Christopher SKY 79 Mountains Classification after Stage 13 1 VALVERDE, Alejandro MOV 22 2 RODRIGUEZ, Joaquin KAT 20 3 CLARKE, Simon OGE 16 4 CONTADOR, Alberto STB 12 5 LIGTHART, Pim VCD 11
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.