Dave Brailsford says Steve Cummings's appeals over Olympics selection should be considered

Brailsford says Cummings's questioning of Team Sky's Rod Ellingworth role in making the British Olympic road race selection should be taken into account

Steve Cummings at the Criterium du Dauphine (Dan Gould)

Team Sky principal David Brailsford has given consideration to a claim from Steve Cummings of a bias between the WorldTour outfit and British Cycling in reference to the Rio Olympic Games.

Cummings (Dimension Data) on Friday called for Sky performance manager Rod Ellingworth to step down as Team GB coach citing a conflict of interest in the wake of his exclusion from the Rio road race squad.

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Former British Cycling director Brailsford approached the 35-year-old at the Tour de France on Sunday morning apparently to discuss the matter but neither party would today elaborate on the conversation.

“I don’t have any influence over, or involvement with British Cycling any more but obviously they’ve asked Rod to be on the selection panel and he has,” Brailsford told Cycling Weekly today.

“So in that sense there’s always going to be a challenge I think if you work for a team and then are a selector for a country. That inherently is always going to pose a problem.

“I think it needs to be taken into account, for sure, from a British Cycling point of view when they put their selection panels together.


Dave Brailsford

“There is definitely that, what’s the word, issue to be managed as it were.”

Cummings today stood by his criticism of British Cycling and its selection criteria, which he asserted was based on individual opinion over performance.

“I’ve already said I think clearly there is a link. If my boss picks the team of the Olympics he picks me, it’s normal,” Cummings said.

Adam Yates (Orica-GreenEdge) is the only representative in the five-man outfit for Rio that does not ride professionally for Sky. Chris Froome spearheads the squad for the mountainous course that Great Britain has assembled a collection of climbing specialists and engines for.

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“It wasn’t like a knee jerk thing… when you finish a race sometimes it’s not good to speak after the finish because you’re emotional. But after time then you understand what’s best to do – to speak or not to speak – and I made a decision to speak. That’s it, that’s the end of it,” Cummings furthered.

Brailsford when asked if he would go so far as to say there was a conflict of interest between the two parties, as Cummings stated, referred to context.

“I think you have to look at it on a context [basis] – who, how, what the team is and where we are at and all the rest of it. I think it’s certainly something that needs to be born in mind,” he said.

The in-form Cummings lodged an appeal with British Cycling that failed despite his consistent results including stage wins at Tirreno-Adriatico, Vuelta al Pais Vasco and the Critérium du Dauphiné this season.

He said he had not spoken to Ellingworth, who is also at the 103rd edition of the Tour.

Steven Cummings chases on stage 2 of the 2016 Tour de France

Steven Cummings chases on stage 2 of the 2016 Tour de France
(Image credit: Watson)

“I said the solution the other day,” he said referring to the esteemed coach. “Or, there’s more of a dialogue developed between British Cycling and the rider.”

When asked if his exclusion from the Rio Olympics had negatively impacted on his morale and motivation to target future national team events, the Tour de France stage winner was uncertain.

“It’s difficult to have the Worlds and the Olympics as an objective because you’re out of the loop. It’s a shame but that’s the way it is. I just choose other objectives within this team [Dimension Data],” he said.

Cummings has already done a share of work at the Tour supporting prolific sprinter Mark Cavendish to the first victory and yellow jersey of the race on Saturday, but will have his own chances throughout.

The astute opportunist said he was in the same shape, if not better than this time last year when he famously claimed a maiden victory for MTN-Qhubeka, an incarnation of his current squad, on Mandela Day.

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