Rider Chat: Ben Swift


Off to a new team in 2017, Yorkshire’s Ben Swift is looking forward to a leader’s role and chasing that win at Milan San Remo and more

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Rider Chat: Ben Swift

At Monsal on Sunday was a rider who has twice been on the podium in one of the biggest Monuments in the World, Milan San Remo. Ben Swift.


His career has seen him win many a stage in races such as the Tour of Britain, Vuelta Castilla Leon, Tour of Romandy, Tour of California, Basque Country and Coppi e Bartali. He’s even won stage races like the Tour of Picardie. On the track, Ben has been a world champion in the Scratch race as well as medals in the Team Pursuit, Points and Madison events showing just what a world class rider he is.

He’s also now ridden the Monsal hill climb but that didn’t go well! “As soon as I started, I knew I wasn’t in the hunt for anything” he explained when he spoke after the race. “It’s such a great event though and I know Marc pretty well so I’ve always wanted to do it. Not sure why though because I’m not sure I’ll do it again!”

‘Swifty’ came to the Monsal Hill Climb after competing in another Italian classic, the Tour of Lombardy the day before which was more for mountain goats and that showed in his legs on Sunday. “Lombardy was ridiculous and the first two hours were so fast” he explained recalling the day before.

The big news with Ben though is his move to a new team in 2017 after being with Team Sky since 2010. He’s signed for Project TJ Sport (formerly Lampre-Merida) and it’s a move he’s been thinking about for a while.

BenSwift_Podium_San Remo

“I was talking to a few teams and some of them didn’t work out and then this came about where I found they really wanted me to sign and how much confidence they have in me. I had a great meeting with them, three and half hours and it felt like an hour so it was really good”.

Ben has been with Team Sky for so long (2010) the move is a case of coming out his comfort zone and taking on the challenge of being in a ‘foreign’ team. He’s been there before having won a stage at the Tour of Britain with Katusha and also ridden for Barloworld, so knows what to expect.

Asked about his unfulfilled ambitions, Milan San Remo is one of the goals. “With my results there, it shows it’s a race I can target” Ben explained. “It’s such a hard race to win, and maybe I’ll never win it in my career but I’ll always keep trying”.

“I’ll be given a lot more freedom in races and while I love the role I’ve had working for guys like G and such in the mountains, with this new setup where’ll be able to lead at races, I’ll have days in the mountains where I’ll be able to save myself more for the days that suit me. In contrast to this, at Sky, I have always had a role to do on those days”.

“Team Sky is definitely more of a GC team and that is all they are worried about and quite rightly as they are one of the best GC teams out there. We kind of struggle in one day races. We have results every now and then like at San Remo, Roubaix and Liege too with Wout but we’re not as successful in them as we are in stage racing”.

Ben admits that it’s good to have had the success he’s had at San Remo but that has just left him wanting more. “Perhaps when I look back at my career, I’ll enjoy the results I’ve had a bit more but coming so close, means you will always want to try and win it”.

“With this new team, I’m hoping to spark that hunger and get a fresh start. It’s not just about Milan San Remo but also about trying to win stages like I’ve come close in Grand Tours quite a few times so I’d like to tick that box. Just winning again really …”

Finally, when asked what type of rider is Ben, a former KoM winner at the Tour of Britain but known mainly for his sprint, he says “I much prefer the harder (hillier) races because while I can get involved in the sprints, you have to be realistic when sprinting against guys like Cavendish, Greipel and Kittel… I’ve beaten them occasionally but it’s not something I will do regularly”.

Ben will be in the new team colours at the Tour Down which he says will be a nice way to start the year … Good luck to him in 2017!




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