A solid but eventually unsuccessful effort by Great Britain in the World Championships ended with Ben Swift claiming twelfth in the sprint for the line in the second chase group behind winner Michel Kwiatkowski.
Prior to Swift’s sprint, teammate Pete Kennaugh shone strongly on the climbs as he chased down attacks and went off the front as part of a twelve-man breakaway group with Italy’s Giovanni Visconti that was only finally caught with 30 kilometres to go.
“I think it was a good ride from Swifty, he came out here in July to look at the course and he said he thought he could do it,” British Cycling Road Racing Coach Rod Ellingworth told Cyclingnews.
“We thought that there could be a group staying away, and they’ve only got to look at each other and it could come back [to a bunch sprint]” - as indeed happened in the senior women’s road-race. He rode really well, positioned himself well all day.”
"It was pretty tough. It was always going to come down to that last steep climb,” Swift told a small group of reporters afterwards.
“I was never going to be able to follow them guys that attacked over the top. It was more about trying to maintain where I was really and then hope it would come back.”
“But Kwiatkowski did a pretty amazing job to attack where he did on the downhill.”
Swift praised his teammates saying "I think the guys rode really well. Luke [Rowe], G [Geraint Thomas], Steve [Cummings], Pete [Kennaugh]. They did a brilliant job riding well together.”
Kennaugh’s role, Ellingworth told Cyclingnews, was “exactly where he had to be at the right time. We said once the Italians make it hard, then to be in the next moves.”
“It was meant to be him and the two Yates brothers [Adam and Simon], but they were feeling a bit off so they were helping the guys the best that they could.”
As for Chris Froome, Ellingworth said, “I haven’t spoken to him but I think he just didn’t have a good day. When the Italians went hard, that’s when we lost a good few.”
“But the guys rode really well together and Luke [Rowe] and Swifty said that when Pete [Kennaugh] was up the road it really helped them a lot, because it focused them on really being there.”
“Pete was a bit unlucky, because I think he had good legs, but that move didn’t get a bit further and he was ready to go on. But the climb just didn’t come around quick enough for him and then they [the chasing groups] were right on top of them.”
Ellingworth finally paid tribute to Dave Millar for his road captain’s role in his last ever race.
“He’s been great here, motivating the lads all the way through. He read the race perfectly, said the Italians would blitz things round about when they did and he’s led the riders really well.”