Dean Downing says injured Ben Swift can make Olympics

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BEN Swift still has every chance of making the Olympic Games despite a shoulder injury that prevented him taking part in this month’s Giro d’Italia, says one of his closest friends.

Top cyclist Dean Downing, who will begin his defence of the Tour Series criterium title in Kirkcaldy next Tuesday and the British Cycling criterium series later this summer, has known Swift since the Team Sky rider used to join him and brother Russell Downing as a young teenager on training rides around their native Rotherham.

And after suffering a similar shoulder injury last December, Downing says Swift still has time to be selected for the Olympic road race in London on July 28. He said: “I’ve heard he’s back on the turbo trainer already so I don’t think it was as serious as first thought.

“The shoulder is a delicate area and I suppose you could say it’s an occupational hazard as a cyclist that you may damage it. When you come off your bike you put your arm down and that sends force into your shoulder, or you land directly on it. Ben will be listening to the doctors and physios and doing exactly what they say.

“It is the best way to be. I was back on the road within three weeks after I broke my collar bone.”

However, Downing thinks missing the Giro will be a big hole in Swift’s Games’ preparations. He said: “That (the Giro) is a massive chunk out of his racing.

“He’ll be reassessing what he can do and talking with his coaches about which races he can take part in.

“Sky brought in Jeremy Hunt into the team for Ben, so maybe he can fill in where Jeremy was supposed to be racing. I hope he can make the Olympic team.”