Steve Cummings disagrees with Mark Cavendish, who said that the Vuelta a España “has become stupid.” For him, he says, the Spanish race is better than the Tour of Britain.
Cavendish explained in a television interview while at the Tour of Britain that the Vuelta is “stupid” with its “11 mountain-top finishes this year. No-one wants to go to the Vuelta any more unless they crashed out of the Tour de France.”
“I don’t know where he got that, most of the Tour GC riders came here,” Cummings told Cycling Weekly ahead of the race’s third week.
“I’m a bit shocked by it. Perhaps it’s too hard for him [this year], perhaps it’s not too hard for everyone else.”
Cummings won in Mende on the 14th stage of the 2015 Tour de France, giving his South African MTN-Qhubeka team their first stage win, and on Nelson Mandela day. He continued to finish the race and took a month off before starting the Vuelta.
Cavendish won a sprint stage in the Tour, but skipped the Vuelta to race the Tour of Britain en route to the world championships in three weeks.
“Cav’s right to say that there aren’t really any bunch sprints, at least not the clear cut days. Which ones were there, the one Caleb Ewan won on an uphill in the last kilometre and the flat one in Málaga?” Cummings continued.
“The Vuelta deserves its place and to be a three-week race. The people here are passionate about it and there’s history. You can’t change it.
“The Tour of Britain is a great race, but for me, the Vuelta is better. The crowds are amazing in Britain, the sports on a high. I’d rather be here than the Tour of Britain, and I’m British.”
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Cummings aims to win another Grand Tour stage before the Vuelta ends in Madrid on Sunday. He is eyeing the time trial tomorrow and one of the two mountain stages that come after it.
For the overall victory, he said that Dutchman Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) is the favourite. He could claw back his 1-51-minute deficit on Joaquím Rodríguez (Katusha) in the 38.7-kilometre time trial tomorrow.
“Dumoulin is going to take two to four minutes tomorrow, and win the Vuelta,” Cummings continued.
“I like the time trial a lot, it’s no too undulating. It’s good for someone who can plough along in a 56-tooth ring, Vasil Kiryienka or Dumoulin.”