Ben Swift (Team Sky) hopes to swap team duties for a shot at victory on stage seven of the Tour of Britain. He currently shoulders the points jersey, but has his best shot yet at taking home a win on the penultimate day of the race.
“Tomorrow more than Sunday suits me better but we’ll have to see how my legs are after today and just see what the situation is,” Swift told Cyclingnews after the finish of stage six, in Hemel Hempstead. “Movistar are perhaps going to want to let a break get away and they’re not going to want to bring it back for a sprint. We’ll just have to see what happens out on the road.”
Swift finished second on stage two to Llandudno, but has spent most of the week working for Sky teammate Bradley Wiggins as he aims to defend his title. The sprinter was one of the riders involved in trying to bring yesterday’s escape back when it became clear that Omega Pharma-QuickStep didn’t have the legs. With the World Championship road race two weeks away Swift is happy with how he is going.
“I think the form must be pretty good, because I’ve always been there in the finishes after working pretty hard,” Swift explained. “It’s kind of hard to know how you feel on these roads. They’re just so heavy it’s like weight training all the time. You’re never too sure about how you feel. I’ve always come good in the last hour, so that’s quite encouraging.”
The 2014 season has been a real coming of age for Swift. It has seen him take victory at the Vuelta al País Vasco, and second at RideLondon and the British National Championships. However, it was his third place at Milan-San Remo that showed his real potential in the biggest of races. It proved that he could tackle not only the climbs, but the length of an event such as the World Championships.
“It’s something that I’ve had my eye on in the last couple of months,” he said of the Worlds road race. “I went and had a look at it and it is a good circuit. It all depends on how it is raced. A lot of teams aren’t going to want to bring it back to any form of sprint. Some teams are going to have to ride pretty hard from the start… On this sort of circuit it could go either way.”
Swift will have a make his tilt at the world title without the assistance of his Sky teammate Ian Stannard. The 27-year-old fractured his scaphoid in a crash on the opening stage of the Tour of Britain. Despite missing the big engine of Stannard, Swift is confident that Great Britain can put forward a formidable line-up.
“We have got a really strong team and we’ve got a lot of options to play,” he told Cyclingnews. “We’ve got a lot of good riders now, a couple of years ago we didn’t have such a pool of riders to choose from. It shows that a lot of good riders are coming in form coming into this world so hopefully we should have numbers to play with.”
Born in Ireland to a cycling family and later moved to the Isle of Man, so there was no surprise when I got into the sport. Studied sports journalism at university before going on to do a Masters in sports broadcast. After university I spent three months interning at Eurosport, where I covered the Tour de France. In 2012 I started at Procycling Magazine, before becoming the deputy editor of Procycling Week. I then joined Cyclingnews, in December 2013.
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