After soloing to a sensational historic National Championships double in the Isle of Man, Steve Cummings described his road race victory as “the worst race I have ever done in my life”.
The Dimension Data rider, 36, broke away from a lead group of six riders with 10km to go in Douglas and crossed the finish line at the grandstand by 40 seconds from Chris Lawless (Axeon-Hagens Berman) and Ian Bibby (JLT-Condor).
Following on from his time trial success on Thursday, he became only the second rider in British cycling history to win the double after David Millar in 2007, and this despite it being his first road race since he quit the Tour of the Basque Country on April 8 with a fractured collarbone, sternum and scapula.
His victory margin may have been sizeable, but the Merseysider found the two laps of the island’s famed TT course and 10 laps in Douglas punishing. “It was proper horrible,” was his assessment.
“The worst race I have ever done in my life. It was just stop-start… horrible. The one thing you miss when you haven’t been racing is that kind of thing. It’s difficult. It was really tough.”
Cummings attacked on the final small ascent on the lumpy finishing circuit, and despite an attempted chase by his breakaway companions, he was able to ride on alone to complete the double.
“It’s cool, isn’t it,” he said of his two wins. “When I am on my own I just go full-on and if they come from behind, they come.”
It is Cummings’ first ever senior red, white and blue stripes – not bad considering he rarely competes with the road race coming so close ahead of the Tour de France.
“I don’t normally come because normally I am 100 percent concentrated on the Tour de France,” he said.
“It’s nice to win so I will enjoy it now. You’re in the spotlight with the jersey. We have had some really good national champions so I would like to do the jersey proud for everyone to show the jersey off.”