Ben Swift returns to Team Sky for 2019

British rider leaves UAE Team Emirates after two difficult seasons

Ben Swift will return to Team Sky for 2019, working as a mentor to the British team’s young riders as well as targeting sprint victories.

Swift was part of Team Sky for seven years before moving to UAE Team Emirates in 2017. He struggled with injuries and found it difficult to integrate into the Italian-based team, with his best result a second place behind former teammate and close friend Pete Kennaugh on a mountain stage to L’Alpe d’Huez during the 2017 Critérium du Dauphiné.

However, Swift showed his potential by finishing fifth in the 2017 World Championships in Bergen, recalling his podium places at Milan-San Remo in 2014 and 2016.

Swift slipped into a support role for Alexander Kristoff in the cobbled Classics this spring but fractured his back during the Tour of Flanders. That put an end to his hopes of riding the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France. His final race for UAE Team Emirates was the recent Tour of Guangxi in China.

Team Sky will begin its 10th season in the WorldTour in 2019 and Swift was one of the riders on the team’s first roster back in 2010.

"It’s a great feeling to be re-joining Team Sky," Swift said. "Obviously I know the ins and outs of the team. I feel really comfortable here and it’s a place I’ve grown as a rider. There will be no teething troubles and I’ll be straight back in. I’m hoping that it will feel like I’ve never been away."

Swift has won 13 races during his career, often winning a reduced sprint after a hilly race. Now 30, the Yorkshireman will also have a mentoring role for Team Sky's generation of young talents.

Sky signed Egan Bernal and Pavel Sivakov for 2018 and have recently announced the arrival of Italy’s Filippo Ganna and Jhonatan Narvaez of Ecuador for 2019. They are also expected to sign Colombian climber Ivan Sosa but his move has been delayed by a contractual dispute. Ireland’s Eddie Dunbar joined in September after the collapse of the Aqua Blue Sport team.

"I’ve still got ambitions and aims for my own career, but I’m also really looking forward to going in and working with the young guys a little bit too. There’s an incredibly talented crop of young riders coming through and I’ve got a lot of experience now that I can lend them," Swift said.

"On the bike, I feel I’ve also got the ability to put a bit back into the sport as a useful all-rounder for the team. I want to be someone who can do a job and take their opportunity when it comes around."

Swift came through the successful British Cycling under 23 Academy programme and will reunite with long-time coach Rod Ellingworth.

"Ben has got a crucial role to play next season. He’s not only a fine rider in his own right, but he’s also a superb role model for the younger riders on the team to learn from, as we look to bring through the next generation at Team Sky," Ellingworth explained.

"In performance terms, he sits right in the middle of the team and he’s such a great team player. His attitude and professionalism sits perfectly in our team. He’s easy to work with and we can use him as a good example – he sets high standards and that’s what we’re about.

"He’s at that age now where he can start to pass some of his experience to the younger guys in the team. We’ve invested a lot now in some young guys and we need a few of the core older riders to pass their knowledge on and show them the Team Sky way of racing. We know Ben will do that. It’s great to welcome Swifty back to the team going into our tenth year."

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