The MTN-Qhubeka rider says he'd rather be riding the Vuelta over the Tour of Britain after Cavendish claimed the Vuelta had become "stupid"

Steve Cummings disagrees with Mark Cavendish, who said that the Vuelta a España “has become stupid.” For him, he says, the Spanish race is better than the Tour of Britain.

Cavendish explained in a television interview while at the Tour of Britain that the Vuelta is “stupid” with its “11 mountain-top finishes this year. No-one wants to go to the Vuelta any more unless they crashed out of the Tour de France.”

“I don’t know where he got that, most of the Tour GC riders came here,” Cummings told Cycling Weekly ahead of the race’s third week.

“I’m a bit shocked by it. Perhaps it’s too hard for him [this year], perhaps it’s not too hard for everyone else.”

Cummings won in Mende on the 14th stage of the 2015 Tour de France, giving his South African MTN-Qhubeka team their first stage win, and on Nelson Mandela day. He continued to finish the race and took a month off before starting the Vuelta.

Cavendish won a sprint stage in the Tour, but skipped the Vuelta to race the Tour of Britain en route to the world championships in three weeks.

“Cav’s right to say that there aren’t really any bunch sprints, at least not the clear cut days. Which ones were there, the one Caleb Ewan won on an uphill in the last kilometre and the flat one in Málaga?” Cummings continued.

“The Vuelta deserves its place and to be a three-week race. The people here are passionate about it and there’s history. You can’t change it.

“The Tour of Britain is a great race, but for me, the Vuelta is better. The crowds are amazing in Britain, the sports on a high. I’d rather be here than the Tour of Britain, and I’m British.”


Watch: Why pro riders love the Tour of Britain


Cummings aims to win another Grand Tour stage before the Vuelta ends in Madrid on Sunday. He is eyeing the time trial tomorrow and one of the two mountain stages that come after it.

For the overall victory, he said that Dutchman Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) is the favourite. He could claw back his 1-51-minute deficit on Joaquím Rodríguez (Katusha) in the 38.7-kilometre time trial tomorrow.

“Dumoulin is going to take two to four minutes tomorrow, and win the Vuelta,” Cummings continued.

“I like the time trial a lot, it’s no too undulating. It’s good for someone who can plough along in a 56-tooth ring, Vasil Kiryienka or Dumoulin.”

  • Bob

    we all know Cav likes to moan unless the stage is designed for him, but I for one have really enjoyed the Vuelta and think it knock spots off the ToB, which while good for publicising cycling in the UK just doesn’t have the same impact or excitement.

  • RobTM

    Dumoulin didn’t gain 2min on all GC contenders.. Cummings was wrong.

  • Daniel Healy

    Thank goodness for the end of Cav-Wiggo’s vanity train. Spoilt egotistical brats: good riddance. Froome, Thomas, Cummings. They are the real guys. Honest, genuine, solid professionals.

  • Daniel Healy

    He wasn’t wrong. Did you see his reaction when asked about how Purito would do? Spot on. He knew Purito would suffer badly and it suited Dumoulin and Dumoulin beat EVERYONE by a minute plus. Aru just happened to ride out of his skin..suit :p as well.

  • Daniel Healy

    Such an ignorant comment.

  • RobTM

    Cummings was wrong about Dumoulin’s time gain.. yes he smashed it, but Aru just lost 1m53s

  • RobTM

    The ToB has included plenty of world champions and grand tour contenders, very many classy riders it’s NOT their season objective however.

  • RobTM

    I think Cav’s remarks were intended to be about the top sprinters, both Greipel & Cav are at the TofB, Kittel is going to fancy the steep climbs even less.
    Sagan & Degenkolb were the ones expected to be hot in the sprints
    There was talk about how much the 3rd place got you, in the Vuelta intermediate sprints… €25 apparently, was €500 in TdF, big big difference

  • dave

    Cav is only saying it to endear himself more to the British cycling community and also trying to use his status of one of the big names in the peloton to influence the way the Vuelta organizers plan the race, hoping they might put in more stages suited to pure sprinters. He would rather be winning grand tour stages than TOB.
    I would rather be watching a battle up the Angliru than a pot hole avoiding race through the council estates of Stoke.

  • Marko Stanojević

    I beg to disagree with Cav, while agreeing that the way Cav can word his opinions can be, almost more times than not, a bit harsh, on the verge of being rude. Therefore, we’ve all, more or less, learned to appropriately weigh (down) Cav’s outbursts.

    Vuelta is a great race, often providing more excitement than the (by far overpraised TdF), and it’s (almost formal) status of the “least” of the three GTs allows it to be a sort of a test bed for new ideas. Then, there’s the tradition, albeit the shortest of the greats, and the Spanish passion. This years field seems to confirm it. What’s there not to like?

    Comparing a GT with the ToB is a bit of a misnomer in itself. Each has it’s place. And returning one (last) time to Cav, a professional athlete must accept the cards he’s been dealt with – after all, cycling is such a complex sport with such a rich palette of rider types that all have parcours suited to them like a glove, but the ones not suited to a particular body type will always be more of than the ones tailor made.

  • Stevie

    Greipel is a has been now? how quickly things change in a couple of months since the tour has ended.

    The ToB is probably a better preparation race for the worlds and the Vuelta doesn’t have that much to offer sprinters. Otherwise we would of seen the best sprinters in the world at the Vuelta not just the “haven’t been yets”.

  • John Westwell

    The Vuelta is nowhere near as big as the Tour de France. It’s very much third on the list of grand tours, after the Giro, and is perennially under threat of changes to its format or position in the calendar. One of the reasons that Unipublic has been putting increasingly difficult climbs in the race is to try to garner some attention.

    No one claims that the Tour of Britain is anything other than a second string race. It doesn’t have any pretensions to grand tour status. However, it has proved itself a useful training race for the World Championships in the last few years (ask Michal Kwiatkowski, and that’s the reason Cavendish is riding it), it’s now well run after the initial teething problems, and the accommodation for the riders is universally praised. Plus the crowds are great.

  • J1

    “I’d rather be here than the Tour of Britain, and I’m British.”

    He’s got more chance of winning the Tour of Britain. I suppose finishing 87th in the Vuelta and no stage wins is a good result….

  • J1

    Yeah, Wiggo is looking fat! 😛

  • SeanMcCuen

    shut your hole, you get paid to turn the cranks, not spew idiotic nonsense.

  • David Simons

    Yup, confirmed, nobody likes Cavendish’s whiny persona.

  • Simon E

    Easy to read too much into a couple of quotes.

    Not much in the Vuelta for Cavendish to enjoy, he’s hardly likely to say “Oh I miss the 20% gradients and five 1st Cat climbs in a day”…

    Riders are allowed to disagree, it’s no big deal. Good to hear from Cummings, IMHO he’s never had the coverage he deserves in UK cycling media.

  • Sean

    Agreed. I’m a big cav fan, but I’m starting to dislike his attitude

  • Andrew Bairsto

    You obviously do live on mainland europe the Vuelta is nearly as big as the TdeF by comparison the TofB is second rate and it has the second stream riders and those who cannot hack it in over the water.

  • John Senior

    IT’s tough when you’re used to winning a lot and then struggle to win anything. The Vuelta has improved beyond all recognition and great riders have always ridden it. For a race that only the Spanish care about there were and are a lot of French,Belgian and Italian riders and a potential Dutch Winner ! I used to have a lot of time for MC and felt his contribution to making GB cycling credible got overlooked because of the Brad effect – less sympathy now as sour grapes never looks or sounds good. Both events are great but if you offered any pro cyclist a choice between winning the Vuelta or Tour of Britain what do you think they’d go for?
    Bottom line is the Vuelta became a better race – like the Giro and Tour – by reducing the number of sprint stages, introducing more hill top finishes and medium mountain stages. Sponsors want TV viewers watching the whole race – which I guarantee hardly anyone did when the Vuelta had pan flat stages over dull countryside that were exciting for 15 minutes.
    Instead of whinging he’d do better to re-think his training – like Greipel has – and let his legs do the talking – not his mouth.! Sad!

  • David Bassett

    What a load of Cr-p.

  • abragan

    Appears the ToB is for “has-beens”

  • Elias

    Everyone knows that Cav is a whinny wimp.

  • dourscot

    Cav has a point – most of the big hitters treat the Vuelta like an end-of-season training run. But this is hardly new – it’s never had much status outside Spain.