Rotherham’s Ben Swift has called time on his season as he faces shoulder surgery.
The 25-year-old who rides for Team Sky was forced to withdraw from this week’s Eneco Tour in Holland and Belgium with shoulder pain. Swift had shoulder surgery last winter and faces a long spell of rehabilitation off his bike.
Swift was a non-starter on stage two yesterday after the notorious Belgian roads took their toll a day earlier. “I couldn’t do anything,” he told the Team Sky website. “I couldn’t pull on the handlebars, I couldn’t accelerate out of corners properly. So we’ve made the call now to finish the season and focus on getting the shoulder fixed.”
Swift recognises the importance of healing up fully and correcting an issue that has blunted his performances this year. He explained: “On the one hand it’s a bad end to a tough year, but on the other hand I’m almost quite relieved in a way to find out that there’s a reason why I haven’t been firing on all cylinders this year.
“It’s the third year now I’ve suffered with a bad shoulder. I had it operated on over the winter and then the crash in Mallorca re-damaged it.” After a bright start to the season that yielded two top fives in three races in Majorca, the Yorkshireman crashed hard at the Trofeo Alcudia in February – a setback after a winter of hard work.
“That crash really knocked me for six,” he admitted. “I had a big knee injury from that crash and I didn’t notice the shoulder as much as I had too much pain in my knee at that time. The shoulder progressively got worse and worse as I was weight-bearing on it.
“In the mountains that was when it really triggered off. It got to the point where after half an hour of being on the bike there was pain and it would progress from there.”
Swift is fully focused on the positives and the lessons learned from last winter. “The rehab this time is going to be a little bit different. Because we’ve decided to end my season now it gives me much longer to focus on the rehab.
“I’m not rushing to get back on the bike, whereas last winter I did eight weeks on the home trainer whilst doing my shoulder rehab. This time I’m not going to touch the bike until I’m allowed back on the road and just focus 100 per cent on getting the shoulder fixed.
“I’m hoping to start again in February next year so it gives me five or six months to get ready and hopefully be really strong by the time I come back. I definitely have some good motivation to get going again.”