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Swift holds out despite cramp

By Gregor Brown in Varese

Britain's Ben Swift held on for fourth in the Under-23 World Championships Friday in Varese despite cramps in the race's finale. Colombia's Fabio Duarte won the 173.5-kilometre race with a solo move and Swift, 20, battled hard to take third in the sprint behind.

"He had a big gap," Swift said of Duarte to Cyclingnews. "Simone Ponzi tried to close it and I wanted to use him as a launch pad. When I went my legs just did not have it."

Swift rode an aggressive worlds. Although he did not make the main escape of five, he bridged with France's Cyril Gautier at 34 kilometres remaining. The effort took its toll and Swift, winner of Coppa della Pace and a stage in the Valle d'Aosta this year, played defensive until the finale.

"I was starting to cramp with three laps to go. I was trying to hold on for the climbs and go for the sprint. One guy, the Colombian, just clipped off the front. I knew who the fast guys were and I was just trying to mark them."

Swift races often in Italy with the British Under-23 Academy Team and he knows the country's riders well. The team's tactics in the final circuit baffled him.

"I knew it was like one minute and it was closing," he said of the chasing group. "I don't know what they [the Italians - ed.] were doing. There was no way they should have... They must up really badly."

He finished 75th last year in Stuttgart, Germany, and he remains "happy" with his effort and his fourth place.

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