Unsure of his form heading into the British National Championships last week, now double national champion Steve Cummings (Dimension Data) admits that he is now marking out Tour de France stages which he could target.
Prior to the winning the British time trial and road race titles, Cummings had not raced for 10 weeks after fracturing his sternum, scapula, and collarbone in a crash in the Tour of the Basque Country, and was understandably unsure of his form.
“I had two phases in my training and [at the Nationals] I’d just completed phase one and started phase two, and normally to get the full confidence I needed to have finished that phase,” Cummings said at a pre-Tour press conference.
“I didn’t really have time so I knew I was coming into form but I also knew that I was missing that last little few per cent you need in a race.”
Despite apparently not being in top form at the National Championships, Cummings became the first rider to win the time trial and road race in the same year since David Millar in 2007.
He is now turning his attention to winning a stage of the Tour de France for the third year in succession, something which he didn’t do in the build-up to the race as he had done in previous years.
Watch: Tour de France 2017 preview – stages one to nine
“I had a brief look at the route [while injured] but I wasn’t getting carried away because it was so much in the balance if I was coming to the Tour or not,” the 36-year-old explained.
“Now I’m here I still haven’t had a chance to do it yet but I need to go through the roadbook and see which is a good stage for me
“You may think that’s not organised but you have to understand when you start the race where you are. I think I know where I am now so I can go through the book and put some crosses on good stages.”
However given his long recovery from injury, Cummings is still eager to reduce the pressure in himself, saying that he would not be disappointed if he came away from the Tour without a stage win, so long as he gave his best.
“I’d love to win a stage,” he continued, “but you have to put in context where I’ve come from. My expectations are simple just to do my best, that’s it.
“Three weeks is a long time so if you do the right things and really concentrate through the race I hope I can build my condition better than what I started with and be on the same level I have been for the last few years.”