Golden boy Ben in rush for Tour glory

Ben Swift wears the leader's jersey. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Ben Swift wears the leader's jersey. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
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ROTHERHAM’S Ben Swift produced a devastating finish to win stage two at the Tour of California.

The former Dinnington School pupil from Anston, aged 23, is one of the rising stars of British cycling.

California dreaming: Ben Swift crosses the line first in Sacramento  (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

California dreaming: Ben Swift crosses the line first in Sacramento (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

And he continued his strong start to 2011 by crossing the line first in Sacramento to also move into the overall race lead.

Torrential rain meant a shortened stage began in the small Gold Rush town of Nevada City before three circuits of Sacramento, the state capital of California.

Supported by his Sky Procycling team-mates, Swift was handed the lead inside the final kilometre. He said how he owed the victory to his team: “We had a plan to hit the front of the circuit with one lap to go.

“It was a pretty long circuit and you needed to ride fast. We were able to come over the top and take control on the final lap. You need to ride together and everyone did the job 100 percent.”

The eight-stage race ends in Thousand Oaks on May 22.

Russell Downing had another impressive stage in the Giro d’Italia yesterday.

The 32-year-old Team Sky rider from Thurcroft finished in 22nd position on the ride from Termoli to Teramo along the Adriatic coast of Italy.

Downing clocked the same time as winner Mark Cavendish. Sheffield’s Adam Blythe has withdrawn from the race.