ROTHERHAM’S Ben Swift has been confirmed in Team Sky’s squad for May’s Giro d’Italia, writes Richard Fidler.
Swift told The Star today that he’d decided to concentrate on the Olympic road race instead of in the velodrome on the track and his selection for the Giro is further evidence of his importance to Team Sky.
Sky’s squad for the 95th edition of the Giro sees World champion Mark Cavendish head up a formidable nine-man line-up.
Swift said: “The Giro will always be a special race for me because it was the first Grand Tour I rode back in 2009 and I lived in Italy whilst on the British Academy. I’ve always had a good relationship with the Italian fans too and they are very knowledgeable and passionate about cycling.
“My main job will be helping Cav but if an opportunity arises for a stage win myself I’ll definitely try and take it, whether that’s in a sprint or from a breakaway. It’s going to be a great experience starting in Denmark and there should be plenty of chances for Team Sky to show what we can do.”
Joining Cavendish and Swift are Bernhard Eisel, Juan Antonio Flecha, Sergio Henao, Peter Kennaugh, Ian Stannard, Geraint Thomas and Rigoberto Urán.
Eisel (31) and Flecha (34) make the team on the back of strong Classics campaigns which saw them take podium places at E3 Harelbeke and Omloop Het Nieuwsblad respectively. The duo have amassed 27 Grand Tours between them and that experience will aid the team greatly in their drive for success.
Both Kennaugh (22) and Swift (24) are returning to the road after their gold medal-winning performances at the World Track Championships along with the ever-impressive Thomas (25), who backed up his team pursuit win in Melbourne with a victory for Team Sky in the opening prologue at the Tour de Romandie. Stannard (24) is the fifth British rider and will play a vital team role, just as he did in the Classics.
Colombian duo Henao (24) and Urán (25) round out the squad and both will be aiming to impress in the mountains.
The action gets under way in the Danish town of Herning on Saturday 5 May and culminates in Milan on Sunday 27 May.
The Star will be following the fortunes of Swift and Team Sky throughout the race.