Down Under challenge for Swift to clinch Olympic spot

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BEN Swift flies out to Australia today with one thing on his mind; booking his place in the Great Britain team for the men’s pursuit at this summer’s Olympic Games.

In a normal year the World Track Cycling Championships, which take place in Melbourne from April 4-8, would be the highlight of the indoor season.

But with London 2012 fast approaching it is a super high profile trial for Swift and other members of the British squad who haven’t quite made their positions permanent yet.

Swift, aged 24, from Rotherham, said: “The track has been my priority since about last November. We have been putting in a lot of work on it and my aim is to make the pursuit team for London.”

Swift is one of a six strong team with only Barnsley’s Ed Clancy almost assured of being on the starting line in the velodrome at the Olympic Park.

“Nobody starts like Ed, so I think he’s pretty much there,” said Swift. “But there’s probably two or three of the other places still up for grabs. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity (a home Olympic Games) so I desperately want to be there.”

Swift, who rides for the elite Team Sky on the road, has already had a taste of the Olympic velodrome during a test event in February.

On that occasion he competed in the multi-discipline omnium where he finished in sixth position.

While the track is taking precedence at the moment, Swift’s road racing will have its highlight this year in May at the Giro d’Italia.

He said: “Unless something dramatic happens I’ll be there. It’ll be a great race for itself and also as preparation for the track. I’m looking forward to it.”

Follow Richard on Twitter @RichardFidler