Team Sky has announced that British sprinter Ben Swift will end his 2013 season early to undergo surgery to resolve a shoulder injury that has significantly affected his performances in recent months.
The Yorkshire man pulled out of the Eneco Tour during stage 2 on Tuesday due to the pain in his shoulder. He will soon undergo surgery to take advantage of the winter to make a full recovery in time for the 2014 season. Swift is hoping to secure a place in the Team Sky squad for the Tour de France that begins near his home in Yorkshire.
“I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t pull on the handlebars, I couldn’t accelerate out of corners properly. So we’ve made the call now to finish the season and focus on getting the shoulder fixed,” Swift said in a statement from Team Sky.
“On the one hand, it’s a bad end to a tough year, but on the other hand I’m almost quite relieved in a way to find out that there’s a reason why I haven’t been firing on all cylinders this year. It’s the third year now that I’ve suffered with a bad shoulder. I had it operated on over the winter and then the crash in Mallorca re-damaged it.”
Swift made a rapid return after breaking his shoulder before the 2012 Giro d'Italia, underwent rehabilitation and trained on the rollers during the winter but then re-injured his shoulder in February in a crash at the Trofeo Alcudia.
Before his problems, he used his speed to win stages at the 2011 Tour of California and the 2012 Tour of Poland. He missed out on a place in the Great Britain team for the pursuit at the London Olympics, but the world title in the scratch race and took silver in the points race and the Madison with Geraint Thomas.
“The rehab this time is going to be a little bit different," he said.
"Because we’ve decided to end my season now, it gives me much longer to focus on the rehab. This time I’m not going to touch the bike until I’m allowed back on the road and just focus 100 per cent on getting the shoulder fixed."
“I’m hoping to start again in February next year so it gives me five or six months to get ready and hopefully be really strong by the time I come back. I definitely have some good motivation to get going again.”