Unlucky? – Ben Swift
Picture from http://www.britishcycling.org.uk
Ben Swift tumbled out of the Trofeo Alcudia yesterday descending the Coll d’Honor. Swift had a decent showing with consecutive top 10 finishes in the Challenge Mallorca to date and to crash out on the last day seems typical of his luck in the last 12 months.
Swift was Sky’s go to sprinter at last years Vuelta a Espana and while the team were primarily focused on Chris Froome for the GC there was a lead out of sorts for Swift including Ian Stannard.
While Swift often appeared well placed in the run up to the red kite he often appeared to have go too early, particularly when teammates had ridden hard to get him into a decent position. This was probably as frustrating for him as there were other stages where he was simply outgunned by the other teams, notably Argos Shimano.
John Degenkolb who vies with Marcel Kittell as top sprinter for Argos was the sprint story of the Vuelta with five wins. Certainly Degenkolb made it look easy dominating the early flat stages and taking the final stage win around the streets of Madrid. Swift’s best result was 2nd on stage 18.
Arguably Sky’s front line sprinter now that Mark Cavendish has gone to Omerga Pharma it will be interesting to see what races Swift is entered into this year. It’s hard to imagine that Sky will have much interest in the sprints on any of the grand tours with the possible exception of the Vuelta. The teams emphasis is very much on the Giro and the Tour with a ramped up effort being made for the spring classics also.
Swift obtained the points jersey at last years Tour of Poland along with two stage wins. The result illustrated his strength against the world tour teams second string outfits but it remains to be seen if he has the firepower and Sky the motivation to win in the biggest events.