The British road and time trial national champion has endured an enforced lay-off from racing in August after discovering he had fractured two vertebrae as a result of crashing in the Tour de France in July.
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The injury meant that the 36-year-old could not defend his Tour of Britain title, and instead will contest the pair of Canadian WorldTour races this weekend – Friday’s GP de Québec and Sunday’s GP de Montréal.
Announcing Dimension Data’s roster for the races, the sports director Oli Cookson commented on Cummings’s role: “He’s a rider you can never underestimate but the other riders also know that by now. He will have a free role but we will have to wait and see how he feels after coming back.”
Cummings had made a success of late attacks during races, utilising his time trial ability to solo to the line.
Although his 2017 season has been hampered by injury, last season he took four memorable stage wins in the Tour de France, Critérium du Dauphiné, Tirreno-Adriatico and Tour of the Basque Country, as well as his overall win in the Tour of Britain.
Joining Cummings in Dimension Data’s roster in Canada are Tyler Farrar, Reinardt Janse van Rensburg, Nathan Haas, Kristian Sbaragli, Jaco Venter, Ben O’Connor and Natnael Berhane.
They will face a list of starters that includes world champion Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Olympic champion Greg Van Avermaet (BMC).
“Both of these races are like World Championships races,” said Cookson. “They wear you down and there is only so much you can plan. It all comes down to who has got the legs at the end.
“Last year, we proved that we can get close to the podium with Nathan and that’s going to be the general objective again this year. We have great riders like Kristian and Reinie who can be there in the final to help Nathan.”