Rotherham cycle ace Ben Swift to quit Team Sky

Ben Swift

Ben Swift

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Ben Swift is to leave Team Sky at the end of the season, the British cycling team have confirmed.

The 28-year-old South Yorkshireman has joined the team currently known as Lampre-Merida, whose management company transferred their race licence to Chinese company TJ Sport for 2017.

Swift has been a part of the Sky set-up since its formation in 2010 and secured Sir Dave Brailsford's team their maiden overall race win at the Tour de Picardie the same year.

But in recent years Swift has had to reel in his personal ambitions for the good of the team, something he is looking to change next year.

He told the Guardian: "It's like leaving my family, but it's now or never if I want to see how good I can be. I don't really have anything to lose and I'd like to publicly thank Sky for what they've done for me and British Cycling.

"Most of the time, I would be second fiddle at Sky. When I have done my job for the team, then I get my opportunity. This team will be giving me more freedom and support.

"My new team will have no out-and-out general classification rider which will open the door a bit. The chance of going there (to the Tour de France) with some freedom would be non-existent at Sky."

Team Sky tweeted: "Thanks for everything @swiftybswift. A @TeamSky original! Best of luck next season at TJ Sport".

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