The 3rd stage of the Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco was a perfect day for Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka as Steve Cummings attacked with 1km to go and soloed to a magnificent stage victory. Cummings just held off the chasing pack which was led home by Simon Gerrans (Orica-Greenedge) with Fabio Felline (Trek-Segafredo) in 3rd.
Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka could not have scripted the stage any better as Daniel Teklehaimanot got into the early break of the day with 4 other riders. The stage was 193km in length with 3 categorised climbs coming in the final 35km of the stage. Teklehaimanot rode well in the break but the peloton kept the escapees on a short leash and so just before the climbs started, Stefan Denifl (IAM Cycling) and Sam Oomen (Giant-Alpecin) jumped away from the break while the other 3 riders returned to the peloton.
Our African Team were able to conserve energy in the peloton while Teklehaimanot spent the day in the break, and this set the team up nicely to take on the final climbs with the main group. A number of attacks flew from the peloton but Team Sky set a relentless pace on the front which meant nobody would get more than a minute’s lead in the final 30km.
Daniel Navarro (Cofidis) would eventually bridge and then pass the two lone leaders just before the top of the final climb, but the gap to the now 40 rider peloton was only 25″. Cummings and Serge Pauwels were both part of this select group and with Orica-Greenedge now setting the pace, our two African Team riders just bided their time. Navarro was caught in the final 4km and this played perfectly into the hands of Cummings.
In typical fashion, our British star went from the rear of the main group and just powered off the front with an incredible seated attack as the race went under the 1km to go banner. The main group hesitated for a second and this gave Cummings the upper hand. Cannondale and Orica-Greenedge put everything into the final 700m but Cummings had done it again. With his arms in the air, the peloton sprinted home a few meters behind Cummings with teammate Pauwles also punching the air in jubilation as he watched Steve take a fine win.
Steve Cummings – Rider
What a brilliant feeling this is. These early season races are so hard and to get two wins now, one in Tirreno-Adriatico and another here at Pais Vasco, it feels quite good. Before we came to Pais Vasco though I said I wanted to win a stage, some people may have thought something different about that but I am happy to have done it. I’m really pleased that I get to stand on the podium once again for Qhubeka, it just makes it such a good day for us.
Alex Sans Vega – Sport Director
Today was one of those day’s where everything works out. We wanted to be in the break because there was a 50% chance that the break would make it to the finish. Daniel Teklehaimanot was in, and that was perfect. The only problem was the Giant-Alpecin rider was 4 minutes behind on GC so the gap never got more than 5 minutes. So coming to the final, we wanted to try something. Steve got a great victory in typical and perfect Steve Cummings style. We are very happy with this result, the guys did a great job today.