Swift and Kristoff to split race programmes in 2018

Ben Swift's 2017 campaign enjoyed a final flourish with fifth place in the road race at the World Championships in Bergen but the UAE Emirates rider is already looking ahead to 2018.

UAE Emirates have strengthened in almost every department ahead of next season with Daniel Martin set to lead at the Tour de France and Fabio Aru likely to join from Astana and lead the line at the Giro d'Italia. The team have also signed Alexander Kristoff, from Katusha, and although Swift admits that there's 'conflict of interest' between the pair when it comes race ambitions, he believes that they can divide up most of the calendar between them.

"We've got Kristoff on board now, so that puts a different dynamic on it but I just want to get back to performing consistently at races and get this year behind me," Swift recently told Cyclingnews.

"There's more investment and when new riders come on board it's a good thing. With me and Kristoff I think we have a conflict of interest at times but we should race a different programme most of the year and then race together at certain points. To be honest he's more of an out-and-out sprinter than I am and I'm more of a climber than him. It's different horses for courses but we'll work it out."

Swift hinted that he could return to the Giro d'Italia after competing in the Tour de France in 2017. The British rider left Team Sky in search of greater opportunities – in races like the Tour – but admits now that the terrain and racing style in Italy's Grand Tour could suit him better.

His debut season at UAE Emirates was punctuated by niggling injuries as he tried to find his feet in new surroundings. Although consistent during phases of the year, the Worlds result was arguably his best performance.

"There's been a lot of changes and after seven years in one place you take it for granted. So those week-long stage races are a target and maybe going back to the Giro, where the terrain maybe suits me better than at the Tour. At the Giro there are more selective sprint days and stuff like that.

"This year, it's been up and down really. It never really got going for me in Milan-San Remo and some of the other races. So I was happy to have that result in the Worlds. It's given me a lot of confidence and morale going into the winter and ahead of next year."

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