Cummings wins big at Vuelta
Overall positions unchanged as Rodriguez stays in red
Last Updated: September 2, 2012 11:59am
Steve Cummings: Held his nerve in the break before taking a superb solo victory
Britain's Steve Cummings took an impressive solo victory on stage 13 at the Vuelta a Espana as the breakaway prevailed into Ferrol.
The BMC Racing rider attacked his fellow escapees on a nail-biting run-in with the peloton bearing down following a close battle.
After digging deep in the final kilometres Cummings tasted victory by four seconds over the pairing of Cameron Meyer (Orica-GreenEDGE) and Team Sky's Juan Antonio Flecha.
"It's my best victory for sure, it's been a very difficult year so I am very happy," Cummings said.
He added: "The whole day was hard, always with a headwind, and in the end I played it really well and had good legs.
"For me to win, I had to win alone because there were fast people in the group and I just tried to wait for a good moment."
It had been Flecha who attacked first with six kilometres to go, splitting apart what had been a group of seven riders before counter-attacks began to fire clear.
The peloton followed 40 seconds later with John Degenkolb (Argos-Shimano) leading home the bunch sprint after his team were unable to maintain control of the strong riders up the road.
Positioned safely in the bunch were the race's main GC contenders, with Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) making it 10 days in the red jersey, leading by 13 seconds over Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) and 51 over Chris Froome (Team Sky).
The question of whether a breakaway or a bunch sprint would win out was on everyone's lips as the race departed from Santiago de Compostela on Friday morning ahead of 172.8km of racing.
For the second day running there was an intense fight to make the decisive move, 24 riders getting away briefly after a series of moves. 45km in and the move of the day went, albeit only ever gaining a maximum advantage of 3:50.
Lotto-Belisol and Argos-Shimano combined at the head of the peloton to police the situation but a determined break, combined with a technical and undulating run-in, would eventually play into the hands of the escapees.
With that realisation setting in there were a number of attacks out of the peloton with 12km to go, Degenkolb proving his strength by following in the wheels but with nothing sticking it was Cummings who was left to take a popular victory.