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Sky to swoop on Swift?

Team Sky has announced the signing of two Italian riders in Dario Cioni and Davide Viganò, taking the number of riders announced for its 2010 squad to 24. Yet the two new announcements were overshadowed by who will be the British squad’s 25th signing as The Guardian speculated that Ben Swift has moved into the sights of David Brailsford’s squad.

All eyes will be on Team Sky heading into its first training camp next week with observers expecting the announcement of a British signing to the team’s ranks. Rumours have swirled around the team’s attempts to court Garmin-Slipstream’s Bradley Wiggins since the Tour de France, however the speculation has unexpectedly focused on Swift.

Like Wiggins’ situation with Garmin, Swift is locked into a contract with Russian outfit Katusha. A team spokesperson told the British paper Swift was – at that point – still a member of the team, however that doesn’t mean the squad wouldn’t consider a buyout of Swift’s contract.

"For us, at this moment, Swift is a Katusha rider," the Katusha representative told The Guardian.

Swift is generally considered one of the brightest stars of Britain’s next generation of riders coming through the ranks. He recorded his first professional victory on the Tour of Britain’s seventh stage this year, having finished just off the podium in fourth at last year’s International Cycling Union (UCI) U23 World Road Championships in Italy. If recent speculation proves correct, Swift could have much to celebrate on his 22nd birthday next month.

For now Brailsford is happy with his squad’s two new signings. He noted Viganò’s talent which he expects to harness and develop with the help of the experienced riders like Cioni and those already signed to the squad like Australia’s Simon Gerrans.

"Viganò is a real talent on the brink of an international breakthrough. Team Sky is all about developing and bringing out the best in these kinds of talents and he will benefit hugely from the way we work," said Brailsford.

La Gazzetta Dello Sport had already reported Cioni's signing to the squad earlier this month, which has now been confirmed by the outfit.

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