A lack of breakaway stages and injuries reduced Steve Cummings' chances of a stage victory in the Tour de France
The British road and time trial champion came to the Tour hoping to win a stage for the third successive year.
But the Dimension Data rider was unable to do so, with a combination of there being few stages suited for breakaway victories, as well as coming back from injury stacking up against the Wirral man.
The 36-year-old, however, has put his frustrations into perspective, aware that prior to the Tour he had only ridden one road race since a crash at the Tour of the Basque Country in April resulted in a fractured collarbone, scapula and sternum.
“I did my best, I always tried. I’m disappointed but after some weeks I’ll probably feel better,” he said after completing the 22.5km time trial in Marseille. “I wanted to reach August and know that I had done everything I could and I have. Every day I have tried.
“But there’s only been two breakaway stages this year. The last few days I haven’t felt like I have had the edge. I’m a little bit rusty in a race, too. When you’re in a race, you see who is moving well and who isn’t, and I haven’t been able to see that. Maybe that’s a bit of it as well.
“We have to realise that I only started riding my bike back on the road on May 28. I did an hour and couldn’t bend my arm, so I have to be realistic. I think my form is quite good, the last few days I have suffered a lot with my back after the crash. I was really sore and it was exaggerated with the time trial. I race good in the Pyrenees, I was close.”
Given his performances over the past few years, Cummings was heavily tipped to win stages that appeared to suit a breakaway victor. He said that “the pressure doesn’t bother me” but wanted onlookers to appreciate the complexities and difficulties in winning a Tour stage.
“Winning Tour stages you need to be very strong,” he said. “You don’t win Tour stages by luck. Ultimately, you have to be super strong to even have a chance of winning.
“Edvald [Boasson Hagen] won yesterday and it’s been six years since he last won which is incredible, but that shows you what it takes to win a Tour stage.”
Cummings also confirmed that he would be defending his Tour of Britain title in September.