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"Milan-San Remo was always a race that suited me on paper. It was my first time doing it last year and I performed well there. That gave me the confidence to be able to target it this year and have it as an aim,” Swift said. 

Photo: Sirotti


21.03.2015 @ 08:05 Posted by Aleksandra Górska

Thinking of Ben Swift, it's always equally hard to assess whether the 27-year old Briton is underrated in regards to his unquestionable potential, or overhyped results-wise. Certainly he's one of those absolutely unsurprising surprise winners, and there is no better field to thrive for such than unpredictable Milano-Sanremo. Last year, Team Sky fast finisher was called in at a short notice and nonetheless sneaked away with a podium spot in his debut at la Primavera. Now, more confident about his chances in a hectic 300-kilometers long race, he aims to improve on that impressive result.


With third place finish in the Trofeo Playa de Palma and second place taken in the Volta ao Algarve opening stage, Swift wasn't exactly flying in the opening weeks of the 2015 season. On the other hand, flying slightly under the radar is exactly how an unexpected Milano-Sanremo winner-to be should behave, and the 27-year old Team Sky rider insists he wouldn't change a thing in his build up towards la Primavera.


Paris-Nice was the last event the young Briton participated in before heading to Milan, but having his team focused exclusively on the general classification with Porte and Thomas, ninth place in a sprint into Contres was the best result he could manage. Still, Swift insists to be pleased with his appearance in the Race to the Sun as his final build-up towards la Primavera.


„I feel like I had a good race and I think I got better and better as the week went on. The other teams threw everything at us. We had a bit of bad luck on the big day into Nice but the team were so strong and we worked together perfectly. We came away with the result that we wanted,” Swift told Team Sky official website, perhaps slightly unintentionally revealing that there is not much space left for thinking about personal ambitions when there's a pressure on hitting a particular target.


Still, encouraged by an impressive result obtained in la Primavera last year, Swift admitted that thinking of moving further up a step or two on a podium in Sanremo kept his legs spinning during the winter-break.


„It’s a big goal. Milan-San Remo was always a race that suited me on paper. It was my first time doing it last year and I performed well there. That gave me the confidence to be able to target it this year and have it as an aim.”


„I know just because I’m targeting it and been working towards it doesn’t mean I’m going to get a result – it’s a really difficult race to get a result in. I’ve done everything I can and I’ve trained as well as I can. I’m not sure I could have done anything different so we’ll see what comes at the weekend.”


While a return of the traditional Milano-Sanremo finish on Via Roma is not exactly favorable for pure sprinters – offering them less time to get the positioning right after a tricky descent from Poggio – Swift welcomed that change with arms wide open.


„I think now going back onto the Via Roma it feels like a proper San Remo. I’m hoping that with the finish being a kilometre closer it should hopefully be more of an advantage to a rider like myself. It will be good for Michael Matthews, Peter Sagan and guys like that. But there are so many riders who can perform well.”


„I’ve done quite a bit of recon work. I’ve done certain efforts while I’ve been out there. We know the climbs and [Team Sky Coach] Rod (Ellingworth) has seen it all before. He won it with Cav before and he knows what it takes to win. We’ve worked really closely together on this goal.”


He also agreed with a general opinion that a number of contenders capable of taking the spoils in Milano-Sanremo is higher than in any other monument, with several different scenarious being equally probable and weather conditions being and important factor.


„That’s the beauty of it. If you throw in a bit of bad weather too that gives it an extra dimension. It’s potentially one of the easiest races to finish, but also one of the hardest races to get a result in because there are so many variables and different ways that it can be won.”



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