Milan San Remo – Swift Second


Yorkshire’s Ben Swift (Team Sky) sprinted to a magnificent second place at Milan-San Remo, his second podium in three years

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Team Sky attacked multiple times in the closing stages, but as the longest one-day race in cycling concluded in a bunch kick, it was the Yorkshireman who had the strength left in his legs to secure a second podium at La Primavera.

Despite having to swerve in the final metres to avoid a crash Swift was still able to lock onto the wheel of Arnaud Demare (FDJ), but was just unable to come around the Frenchman at the line.



Team Sky’s best Monument result to date came as a result of a huge team effort, with Ian Stannard and Michal Kwiatkowski both attacking out of the peloton during the race’s famous undulating finale.

Kwiatkowski launched a rousing move with six kilometres to go on the Poggio, cresting the climb with and taking a slender advantage onto the fast, switchback descent. With the big names behind starting to look at one another it looked good briefly for the Pole, but a surge from Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) saw ‘Kwiato’ caught tantalizingly in sight of the flamme rouge.

Mixed emotions for Swift

Standing behind the podium for the second time in three seasons, Swift admitted that coming so close to the victory was a bittersweet moment. “Obviously it’s quite disappointing to get second – so close to the win,” he told “That said I’ve got to be happy and I’m back on the podium in a Monument. I’m slowly chipping away. We’ve had a second, a third and we’ll keep on trying in the next few years.

“The team was brilliant today. Unfortunately we lost Pete (Kennaugh) and Geraint (Thomas) in that crash. It was a super stressful day and we lost a lot of horsepower there. We rode a great attacking race and we did what we wanted to do. When Ian went on the Cipressa it set it up perfectly. Then Michal went on the Poggio so we couldn’t have done it any better.

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“I just tried to stay as relaxed as possible in the last kilometre and I tried to follow Jurgen Roelandts. Last year I think I stressed a little bit too much. This year I was a bit more relaxed. I was close to a crash at the finish there but it is what it is.”


Kwiato: “I was going full gas”

Eventually crossing the line on his own in 40th, Kwiatkowski was painfully aware how close he’d come to staying away. “I attacked and tried to gain an advantage before the descent,” he confirmed. “I was going full gas to the finish. I think we can be happy with second place with Ben. It was a really difficult, nervous last 50-60 kilometres.

“The race really starts before the Capis. Everyone was trying to get to the front, and with the weather this year the whole bunch were there fighting. We all committed to go for the win. I was not too far away at the end. Stannard was in a great move on the Cipressa, I was there on the Poggio and then Swifty was waiting for the sprint.

“We had a few ways to try and win the race and that is what Milan-San Remo is all about. You have to try with a few options as sometimes there are crashes and you don’t know what is going to happen or control the situation.”

Team Sky had kept their powder dry for much of the mammoth event, sitting in the pack before moving forward in a nervy peloton on the approach to the decisive climbs. Despite riding up front Geraint Thomas’ bad luck in the Monuments continued, with the Welshman taken down in a crash on the approach to the Cipressa with 30km to go.

Pete Kennaugh was also caught up in the sizeable spill, which also held up Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge) and eventual race winner Demare. Stannard moved to the fore on the Cipressa, jumping on the attack of Giovanni Visconti (Movistar) to go clear in a dangerous move. More riders bridged to the duo but the break was caught just ahead of the Poggio.

It was Luke Rowe who then led Team Sky and a larger than normal peloton onto the climb, with the sprinters’ teams quickly looking to control the pace. After being tee’d up by Swift, Kwiatkowski launched his move, hurtling full speed down the descent that ended his race 12 months previous.

Everything came back together inside the final kilometre, with Swift coming from deep to suddenly be right in contention on the Via Roma, pulling off a superb podium finish, barely a metre away from an elusive Monument victory.


1. Arnard Demare, FDJ
2. Ben Swift, Sky
3. Jurgen Roelandts, Lotto Soudal
4. Nacer Bouhinni, Cofidis
5. Greg Avermaet, BMC
6. Alexander Kristoff, Katusha
7. Henrich Haussler, IAM
8. Filppo Pozzato, SE Ven
9. Sonny Cobbrelli, Bardiani
10. Matteo Trentin, Etixx Quickstep

12. Peter Sagan, Tinkoff
15. Alejandro Valverde, Movistar
49. Peter Kennaugh, Sky
57, Ian Stannard, Sky
77. Stephen Cummings, Dimension Data
91. Luke Rowe, Sky
95. Simon Yates, Oroca GreenEdge
110. Mark Cavendish, Dimension Data
168. Adam Blythe, Tinkoff
169. Geraint Thomas, Sky




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