Steven Cummings just missed out on an early podium appearance when he placed fourth at the Grand Prix la Marseillaise, France, on Sunday – the traditional start of the French racing season.

The British Team Sky rider contested the final sprint that saw six riders jump clear of the bunch. French rider Jonathan Hivert (Saur-Sojasun) took the honours, with Dutchman Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil) second and Frenchman Samuel Dumoulin (Cofidis) third.

“Of course I’d have liked to have won but it was a pretty good start,” Cummings told the Team Sky website.

“There were plenty of attacks going on, especially from the second-last climb, and I was able to respond. I felt really strong throughout the race.”

Fellow Briton Peter Kennaugh made his debut for Team Sky, placing 85th.

Cummings and Kennaugh are now scheduled to ride in the Etoile de Besseges stage race, starting on Wednesday (February 3-7).

The GP Marseillaise is a UCI 1.1-ranked event and takes place around the city of Marseille, on the south-east coast of France. Previous winners include Britain’s Jeremy Hunt (2007), Bernard Hinault (1982), Jan Raas (1983), Eddy Planckaert (1984 and 1986) and Richard Virenque (1997).

Grand Prix la Marseillaise 2010

1. Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Saur-Sojasun in 3-34-02

2. Johnny Hoogerland (Ned) Vacansoleil

3. Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Cofidis

4. Steven Cummings (GB) Team Sky

5. Remy Di Gregorio (Fra) Francaise Des Jeux

6. Pieter Jacobs (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderenat same time

7. Martial Ricci Poggi (Fra) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago at 2sec

8. Brice Feillu (Fra) Vacansoleil at 5sec

9. Kalle Kriit (Est) Cofidis at same time

10. Romain Feillu (Fra) Vacansoleil at 11sec

Other

85. Peter Kennaugh (GB) Team Sky

Related links

Team Sky reveals early season line-ups

Steven Cummings: Rider Profile