Mallorca Challenge: Swift so close to win


Only a squeeze up against the barriers from Quickstep’s Meersman stops Ben Swift from that first win 2014 as stage 2 in Challenge Mallorca finishes in bunch kick

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Sheffield’s Ben Swift has his goals for 2014 and the first one almost came to fruition in Mallorca on stage 2 of the four stage Challenge. 

After a disappointing first race where he used his ‘race craft’ to get in amongst Omega Pharma Quickstep’s train only to get taken off a wheel and out of the running, Swifty was again Team Sky’s rider for the stage. Whilst Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida) made it two wins in two days, Ben Swift was just able to edge out Gianni Meersman (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) during what his team called a ‘close-quarter battle’.


On Twitter afterwards, Ben says “Nice to be back on the podium. Shame about the incident in the final though”. “Swifty got squeezed by Meersman in the final metres,” confirmed Sky DS Dan Frost. “He said himself he could have won, so it was one of those second places where you’re not at all happy about it because it was so close.” On CyclingNews, Swifty explained more saying “He [Meerseman] said he kept a straight line but he didn’t and he needs to go and have a look at the finishing video. It almost looked like he saw me coming and then turned right.”

The second stage of this unique Mallorcan stage race with four separate races as well as an overall, saw seven riders go clear as the peloton left the start. Wind, rain and some slick roads on the island made for tricky conditions and with 70 kilometres to go, the peloton began to split at the front as Omega Pharma Quickstep tried, and succeeded, to do some damage.

After a lot of hard work to bring the race largely back together, a break soon escaped with Team Sky and Lampre-Merida working to bring things back together with Germany’s Bjorn Thurau (Europcar) the last of the escapees to be caught by the fast moving peloton which now numbered only twenty or so riders.

After a long climb to the line, the strung out group thinned out by the tough uphill finish, battled for the victory on a finish straight almost devoid of that ‘big bike race’ atmosphere. Swift, on the barriers was clearly unhappy that his sprint to the line had been blocked. But, while the victory eluded him, there were positives, the main one being he was up there in the selection where there was no hiding places.

Attention now turns to the climbers with day three presenting the best opportunity for those riders with a tough finish and five categorised climbs including Puig Major with 19km to go until the finish line.

1 MODOLO Sacha Lampre – Merida 04:07:53
2 SWIFT Ben Team Sky
3 MEERSMAN Gianni Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team
4 TRENTIN Matteo Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team
5 REYNES MIMO Vicente IAM Cycling
6 MATTHEWS Michael Orica GreenEDGE
7 KWIATKOWSKI Michal Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team
8 VENTOSO ALBERDI Francisco José Movistar Team
9 HUREL Tony Team Europcar
10 SBARAGLI Kristian MTN – Qhubeka

13 BOASSON HAGEN Edvald Team Sky
30 YATES Simon Orica GreenEDGE @ 10 seconds
34 YATES Adam Orica GreenEDGE
35 QUINTANA ROJAS Dayer Movistar Team
41 RIUTORT MARTINEZ Juan Carlos Burgos-BH 00:26
49 MILLAR David Garmin Sharp
55 MCEVOY Jonathan Team NetApp – Endura
89 ROWSELL Erick Team NetApp – Endura @ 52
94 DE GENDT Thomas Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team
100 WIGGINS Bradley Team Sky
105 HORNER Chris Lampre – Merida

DNF KENNAUGH Peter Team Sky –


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