AT THE end of three weeks of gruelling stages, which has taken him the length and breadth of France, Ben Swift is ready to do it all over again.
A superb performance yesterday in Paris demonstrated 23-year-old Swift’s potential as a Tour de France stage winner of the future.
Briton’s Mark Cavendish and Australian Cadel Evans will hog all the headlines after winning the green and yellow jerseys respectively.
But they were very nearly overshadowed by Swift who led a six man break down the Champs-Elysees, which almost went all the way to the finish line. It was the first time in the Tour that Swift had managed to get himself into such a position.
He told The Star: “I want a fourth week now. The plan was to go out there and have fun. It was the first break of the day I’d tried and it worked. I felt good; the atmosphere was amazing I couldn’t feel any pain in my legs at all. Eventually they (the peloton) caught up with us. The lactic acid just turns your legs to jelly. It would have been great to carry on and get the win, but that’s bike racing.”
Swift has been one of the major success stories for Team Sky in their second Tour. After losing their leader Bradley Wiggins in the first week, Sky had to re-evaluate their goals. Swift had been talked about as a possible stage winner at the start of the race. But the course wasn’t set up to showcase his talents with a series of uphill finishes on even the flattest stages.
However, even missing his start time in Saturday’s time-trial couldn’t dampen his spirits after yesterday’s moment in the spotlight. And he even hinted at challenging Cavendish, who won for the third consecutive year in Paris: “The whole race has been incredible,” he said. “In the future I definitely want to be (going for the green points jersey). It’s a goal.”
Evans won his first Tour after a superb time-trial on Saturday. Samuel Sanchez was King of the Mountains and Pierre Rollands best young rider.