The GB coach was not part of the Tour de France peloton that tackled the Col d’Aspin on Friday. However, he was certainly the biggest loser on the day, even bigger than FDJ’s poor Thibaut Pinot.
The winner of the stage, Steve Cummings, had called for Ellingworth to resign due to a conflict of interest. The coach had selected four riders from his own Team Sky (along with Adam Yates) to represent England at the Rio games, leaving Cummings off the team despite his excellent results this year.
A writer for the Guardian, labeled the omission of Cummings a “travesty.” The hilly Rio road course would seem tailor-made for Cummings’ stage-hunter expertise and tactical skill, but he won’t be making the trip.
Instead, with every pedal stroke up the 6% grade of the Col d’Aspin, Cummings made Ellingworth look biased and foolish. He had read the breakaway to perfection, whittled it down and made his solo move with perfect timing. Even a motivated Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), a top climber and recent Giro d’Italia winner, couldn’t reel him back.
Every time the camera cut away from the chaser group and back to Cummings, you could practically read his mind as he hammered away — “Screw Rod Ellingworth, screw Rod Ellingworth, screw Rod Ellingworth.”
When Cummings crossed the finish line, there were a few extra punches in the air and an even deeper and gratifying sense of satisfaction. Like last year in Mende, he’d won another stage in the Tour de France. More than that, he’d backed up his claim that he belonged on the English squad for the Rio Olympic games.
Steve Cummings beat Rob Ellingworth and beat him badly for the entire cycling world to see.