Steve Cummings is one of the designated team leaders at Barloworld for the Trofeo Laigueglia (Saturday, February 21) and hungry to get a result in a race he knows well.
Cummings finished second in the 2006 edition, just beaten in the sprint by Alessandro Ballan after making the final selection. The testing course of climbs and technical descents suits him perfectly and the big man from the Wirral knows he has a chance of success.
?I?ve heard that there?s a new climb at the end. That sounds good for me because it will make it a more selective race and get ride of some people who could beat me in the sprint,? Cummings told Cycling Weekly as he traveled to the race with Ben Swift from their base in Quarrata.
?2006 was a good result because I was a young pro with Landbouwkrediet but I also got in the decisive move last year before going off the road on the last descent.?
?I?ve got a protected role along with Soler and Froome. We?re all riding pretty well and so we can play a good team tactic.?
Cummings had a solid winter, spending a lot of time training in Quarrata. He is light for the climbs but has not lost any of his power. His performance at the Tour of the Mediterranean was overshadowed by the success of his team mates but he is quietly confident of success.
?I was happy with my ride the Tour of the Mediterranean and the team got some good results with Hunter?s win and second and third with the placing on Mont Faron by Soler and Froome. I could have done better because I hesitated a bit on the climb when Moncoutie and then Froome attacked. I could have gone with them but I didn?t want to take anybody else across to Mauricio Soler who had attacked at the start of the climb.?
?I?ve felt good this week in training and I?ve recovered well from the Tour of the Mediterranean. I?m hopeful of getting a result.?
SIX BRITS IN ACTION
Six British riders will line-up the race on Saturday, confirming the ever-increasing strength in depth of British riders in the professional peloton.
Steve Cummings and Chris Froome will be team leaders at Barloworld at the Trofeo Laigueglia, Ian Stannard will ride for ISD, Ben Swift will back up Filippo Pozzato at Katusha, Jonathan Bellis rides for Saxo Bank and Charly Wegelius will continue his early season build up in his new Silence-Lotto colours.
The Trofeo Laigueglia is the first semi-classic of the European season and has a classy field that also includes world champion Alessandro Ballan (Lampre), Pozzato (Katusha), David Rebellin (Diquigiovanni) and Alessandro Petacchi (LPR).
The race includes three testing climbs along the Liguria coast not far from San Remo, with other coastal capi also expected to shape the 176km race. The return of the Cima Paravenna climb 20km from the finish is likely to be decisive and make the final selection that will sprint it out on the seafront in Laigueglia.
There will be a report on the Trofeo Laigueglia and the performance of the British riders here at cyclingweekly.co.uk immediately after the race on Saturday afternoon.