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“I think so, especially after this year and by just having those training and racing kilometres under my belt. I think I have some pretty decent results now. Hopefully, I can take the next step and keep progressing.”

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28.09.2014 @ 19:08 Posted by Emil Axelgaard, Ponferrada

For the first time in his career, Ben Swift was the clear leader of the British team at the World Championships. After finishing 12th in the race, the Sky rider hopes for more opportunities in the future.

 

The 2013 season was one to forget for Ben Swift. Crashes and injuries prevented him from reaching his full potential and he didn’t win a single race all season.

 

2014 was all about finding back his best legs and restoring his confidence for the coming seasons. With a stage win in the Vuelta al Pais Vasco on a very tough day in the mountains, a third place in Milan-Sanremo and a stage win in the Settimana Coppi e Bartali, it has been mission accomplished for the British sprinter.

 

His great results earned him the leadership role on the British team for the World Championships in Ponferrada. The course was expected to suit sprinters with solid climbing legs, making it a perfect fit for the Sky rider.

 

Having stayed near the front for most of the race, perfectly supported by Luke Rowe until deep into the finale, Swift dug deep to stay in the peloton on the final climb. Having been unable to follow the attackers, he ended up in the group that sprinted for 8th, eventually finishing the race in 12th.

 

“It was pretty tough really,” he told a few media, including CyclingQuotes at the finish. “I knew it was always going to come down to that last steep climb. I was just counting down the climbs in the last 3-4 laps. It was just “That’s another climb down”.

 

“I was never going to be able to follow the guys that attacked over the top. It was more a question of trying to maintain where I was. Hopefully, it was going to come back but Kwiatkowski did a pretty amazing job to attack where he did on the downhill.

 

“I know that I got 12th overall but I don’t know what I was in that little group at the finish. It is always hard sprinting on tired legs like that. I was pretty happy. I would have liked to have got a lot more but I think I got the best out of the situation.”

 

Swift was isolated after the final climb where it was mainly left to the Germans to try to bring it back together for a bunch sprint. A key rider like Chris Froome had abandoned the race in the early stages but Swift refused the suggestion that he had been let down by his team.

 

“I think the guys rode really well, guys like Luke, G [Geraint Thomas], Steve [Cummings], Pete [Kennaugh],” he said. “They did a brilliant job, riding really well together. Once it came down to that last lap, it was just flat out anyway.”

 

Swift may not have taken a medal but he got his first taste of leading a team at the Worlds.

 

“It is only my third senior World Championships and it is the first time I have really had a leadership role in the World Championships apart from at the U23 level,” he said. “To go there and to be active on the last lap makes me happy. I will continue to look forward. Especially after last year, I now have a really solid year under my belt. I hope I’ll take another step next year.”

 

This year Swift has proved that he can handle the leadership and that he can achieve great results. He expects to have moved up in the Sky hierarchy.

 

“I think so, especially after this year and by just having those training and racing kilometres under my belt,”  he said when asked whether he would have more opportunities in the future. “I think I have some pretty decent results now. Hopefully, I can take the next step and keep progressing.”

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