at the Mallorca Challenge, castelli, cummings, News, stage, steve, win -

Cummings beats Valverde in first European summit finish

MTN-Qhubeka’s Steve Cummings takes the second race of the Challenge Mallorca, beating Alejandro Valverde on the final climb

Stephen Cummings got his career as an MTN-Qhubeka rider off to the perfect start when the Brit won his first race in his new Castelli colors, the Trofeo Andratx which was the second race of the Challenge Mallorca race series.

“I’m really happy with today’s victory,” Cummings said. “I knew I had done a lot of good work over the winter so I’d like to thank the team for the amazing work they did and chance they gave me to focus on today’s race.”

Cummings’ teammate Johann van Zyl spent over 145 kilometers in the day’s main breakaway. The escape started out with 10 riders, but on the lower slopes of the first-category Puig Major climb, the 23-year-old South African, along with José Goncalves (Caja-Rural) and Dylan van Baarle (Cannondale-Garmin), rode clear from the rest of break.

With 38 kilometers to go, van Zyl tried a brief solo attack but was soon caught by Goncalves and van Baarle. With three kilometers to go, the MTN-Qhubeka rider went again. He was eventually the last rider caught, at 1.5km to go.

Soon after, Cummings attacked in the final kilometer and rode to victory.

“I was able to come back to the front right near the end and snatch the victory, so I’m really happy with the result,” the winner said. It was his first win and his first race of the 2015 season.

Another Castelli athlete, Davide Formolo (Cannondale-Garmin) was third at six seconds after the 149km run from Andratx to Mirador d’Es Colomer.