Talkingshop: Steve Cummings (BMC)

You will wince when you read this … Winner of a Grand Tour stage in 2012 after four serious crashes during the year, VeloUK spoke to Steve Cummings about his season …

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1. Looking back at 2013, how do you view the season where you had some bad crashes but also two WorldTour victories?
Steve Cummings: I think I had extremely bad luck and rode most of the season in pain, recovering from/or nursing an injury.

I think its fair to say the season could have been better! I’m lucky I had such a great team of people and good friends around me to help me through. I had four bad crashes. In Algarve, I suffered a broken pelvis and spent five days in bed, 30 days in a rehab centre (swimming pool, eventually gym) and then 10 days on the bike.

Then in Pays Basque I suffered a broken wrist and was off the bike for a week before I spent three weeks on the trainer, ten days on the road still with fixed cast on wrist before a week of normal training.
Then in the Tour of California I crashed and needed six stitches in my knee cap and the same wrist put back in a fixed position. The wrist was still not 100 percent and when I fell on it, I over stretched it and damaged ligaments so another week of no bike and then back on trainer!

Then in the Tour, I crashed on the last mountain stage and damaged ligaments in my coccyx (I had pain from my neck down to my knees). I couldn’t sit down for a month without pain! I also lost a lot of skin on both sides and was eating in bed for two days after the crash but finished the tour.

Honestly, I could barely move and didn’t sleep properly for a month and couldn’t train properly and was only riding an hour or two. During the Classica San Sebastian/Vuelta I worked every day with an osteopath and slowly the pain went away. It took ten days for me to feel better and then finally, I won stage 13, and the last stage in China (Tour of Beijing)!

2. The stage win in the Vuelta — how does that rank in your list of wins as a professional?
Steve: The stage win in the Vuelta was the best moment of career, by some way. To go through all that shit and come out on top for one small moment, it’s hard to describe in words. Relief, happiness, it was extremely emotional. Like everything came to a head. To have Max (Sciandri) in the car, who has been there through thick and thin for many years made it extra special.)

3. Is that victory the career highlight for you or are there other events which stand out for you.
Steve: Cav winning the worlds was a big highlight. He was the red hot favourite and he just needed delivering well and he would win and that’s what we all did together. The party after wasn’t bad either!

4. BMC is known for its team leaders like Evans, Gilbert etc … do you have a specific role in the team working for a specific rider or more of a free role
Steve: When you go to a race with Cadel Evans or Tejay van Garderen, he normally does GC, so the whole team is for him. With Gilbert, he targets stages and we do what we can to help him on his days, then we get some freedom on other days.

5. The team has another British rider in it, Adam Blythe. Do you race together much or do your races differ because of the different riders you are?
Steve: I raced only a few times with Adam last year. He was second in one race, and we did Tour of Switzerland together. He is more of a sprinter while my program is for the Ardennes and Tour de France. I think we will do Paris Nice together and I hope some other races.

6. How does a team like BMC differ to Sky in the way it looks after its riders, their role on the road and the events they do?
Steve: I’m sure Sky is different to when I was there. Teams evolve and change, because if they don’t, they get left behind. Both teams work extremely hard, prepare extremely well, and have a real desire to give the riders the best equipment, nutrition, training that we need to be the best we can be.

7. You base yourself in Italy and spend little time at home on the Wirral. What are the advantages for a pro bike rider being based where you are in Northern Italy?
Steve: I’m in Tuscany where the weather is better, food is better and training roads are better. The life style here is better suited to a bike rider. Simple as that really.

8. What is a typical week in December for you in Italy training wise
Steve: I spend around 22 hours on the bike, seven hours stretching and three times in the gym.

9. Looking ahead to 2013, as a seasoned pro now, do you have specific goals, races that you will prepare for like the Tour de France?
Steve: Yes, major goals are Paris-Nice, Liege-Bastogne-Leige, Tour de France, Vuelta and then the Worlds.

10. How difficult is it for a rider to get their weight down to help their climbing. What lengths do you have to go to?
Steve: It’s a lifestyle. Sometimes it’s are hard like everything but I don’t find it a big chore to be honest. But then I’ve never been as lean as some riders, so perhaps I’m not as extreme as some. I weigh the same within 2-3kgs all year.

11. Where do you expect your season to start in 2013
Steve: Qatar

12. If you could win one race in 2013, what would it be?
Steve: A stage of the Tour de France.

Thanks Stevo… good luck for the coming season!


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