News: Swift 3rd on Stage in California

Team Sky’s Ben Swift from Rotherham was third on stage 5 of the Tour of California. The stage winner was Peter Sagan (Liquigas) whose team did a lot of work early on to bring back a break, with the Italian repaying them for their efforts with the stage victory.

For Team Sky, their numbers were reduced to five when Alex Dowsett crashed out of the race the day before the Time Trial which he says on Twitter he was really up for. “Crash was 100% my fault” he says on Twitter “taking a drink and hit a pothole bouncing my hand off the bars, my apologies to the guys I bought down with me. Spent the afternoon in hospital with suspected rib problems, I’m ok though, missing alot of skin and got that winded feeling constantly!”

Team Sky, minus the Dowsett engine for their leadout train, moved to the front inside the final two kilometres and led the peloton on to the long closing straight, where it was Aussie Leigh Howard (HTC-Highroad) who kicked early and as Swift latched onto his wheel, Sagan (Liquigas) powered down the right to take his victory by less than half a bike length. The other news for Team Sky was the ride by Chris Froome who got himself into the races big break. Froome, known for his aggressive nature in races, repeatedly attacked off the front of the bunch during the early exchanges and got himself into an 11-man break who edged ahead after the first of four categorised climbs.

Into the closing stages, under the pressure of a king of the mountains sprint, the break broke up and from that, Oscar Freire (Rabobank) attacked as the other riders eased following the sprint and took with him Stefan Denifl (Leopard Trek). The three time World Champion from Spain, Freire, was soon on his own though when Denifl punctured but despite having to do all the work out front, the Rabobank rider held out until 3k to go.

Once caught, it was up to the sprinter teams to take their man to the finish and for Team Sky it was the likes of Ian Stannard, Mathew Hayman and Greg Henderson who surged to the front before ‘Swifty’ attacked the line, crossing in third place. Talking afterwards, Swift explained how he’d had to avoid Sagan’s leadout man Oss when he pulled off but had praise for his leadout from his teammates, saying it was a fantastic effort and a shame he couldn’t repay them with a victory.

Related Links:  Henderson wins Stage number 2 for Sky |  Ben Swift wins stage 1 in California


1 Peter Sagan Liquigas-Cannondale 5:16:03
2 Leigh Howard HTC-Highroad
3 Ben Swift Sky Procycling

1. Christopher Horner Team RadioShack 16:45:35

Green Jersey
1. Peter Sagan Liquigas-Cannondale 34  pts
2. Ben Swift  Sky Procycling 25
3. Leigh Howard HTC-Highroad 18