Interview: Connor Swift (Madison Genesis)

Chatting to a three time winner in 2017, Connor Swift (Madison Genesis) at the launch of the Tour of Yorkshire

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Interview: Connor Swift (Madison Genesis)

One of the rider’s of the season has been Connor Swift of Madison Genesis who won two rounds of the Tour Series and the Leicester Castle Classic.

A relative newcomer to the sport, certainly compared to his cousin Ben Swift, Connor was at the launch of the Tour of Yorkshire route this week with his team manager Colin Sturgess and Chuck the mechanic and we managed to grab a few words with Connor about the Tour of Yorkshire and his season in 2017.

Asked what he thought about the route for the 2018 Tour of Yorkshire, he replied “It’s got a lot of variety next year and stage 1, that looks like being a sprint day for sure.”

“There will be gaps in the GC after the finish up the Cow and Calf (stage 2) and then on stage 3, I expect it will be another fast day even though there are some categorised climbs in there like Sutton Bank. I have never ridden up there; been up in the car and it takes its toll on that so it will be tough on the legs but it could be a sprint day into Scarborough where its finished before and that will see some fantastic crowds. Stage 4 will be a very long day just as it was this year on the final stage!”

Connor, with Sebastian Mora, James Gullen and Harry Tanfield, in the break on stage 2 of the Tour of Yorkshire

Connor rode the 2017 edition of the Tour of Yorkshire and admitted it was pretty surreal and expects next year even more so. “The course next year comes within four miles of where I live and finishes in Doncaster, my home town, and with potentially the biggest guys in the sport in the race like Mark Cavendish, and racing against them on home road and home county, it’s going to be amazing. I don’t think people many people in sport get to have this opportunity”.

The images of the Tour de Yorkshire are spectacular and when asked what is it like to be racing through such crowds, Connor replied “it’s unreal. You watch the Tour de France on TV and the type of crowds they have on those mountains stages, and then we see them in the Tour of Yorkshire, walls of people through the towns and villages, and lines of people on the road side, day in-day out; it’s just a fantastic experience.”

“Some of the climbs you go up, which you have done a recce of them before the race, you go up in the race and you have the crowd in your face shouting and it really does take the edge off the suffering on the climb and help you up”.

Moving away from international races and onto the domestic calendar, I asked Connor about his 2017 season. “It’s been a fantastic year with Madison Genesis and I’m looking forward to 2018. Doing this today, I’ll go home today more motivated so I am looking to improve next year and see how it goes”.

More joy for Connor! This time in Stevenage at the Tour Series

One image that I won’t ever forget is of Connor winning the Leicester Castle Classic kermesse, part of the national road race series for men. Asked what was it about that win that saw him have such pure joy written all over his face, he replied …

“I had been told this year to back yourself in what ever race I do and there are times in a race, like at Leicester, you are red lining and on the edge and thinking ‘I haven’t got a chance’ and then the next thing you know, I have gone and won the bloom’in thing!”

“So I think the joy I have on my face is that relief you feel from thinking half an hour before, can I stick with these guys and then I have gone off the front and won the race and it’s just a big relief and joy at having it done it for the team. There’s a load of emotions all coming out at once and it’s fantastic to get the chance to celebrate like that.”

With three major victories, two of them in crits and the other the Leicester kermesse, what was I asked, the one win that gave him the most satisfaction? “Stevenage (tour series)” he replied.

“We had a set plan before the race; we ride, launch me off with a lap or two to go, and it paid off. We caught out a few teams after we’d worked solidly all race, covering moves and I was really happy”.

And again in a very wet Bath – Tour series victory for Connor

Finally, its winter, the prems don’t kick off until April of 2018 and so there’s a lot of time before the pedals are turned on anger again on the road. How does he keep busy? “I have dibbed and dabbed in a few cyclo-cross races this winter, four or five local events and it’s been something I have really enjoyed”.

“Through October and November, I have relaxed and had some fun on the bike, not focusing on numbers but just getting out on the mountain bike and cyclo cross bike with the other local guys. Now it’s the start of the hard work, getting in the gym, doing some swimming, and getting in those long winter miles.”

“From January, I am going away to Gran Canaria on a personal camp and then we have team camps so before I know it, the camps will be done and the season will be upon us.”

And his longest winter base ride? “I have been out with Ben a few times and before the last Milan San Remo, I did a seven hour ride with him and for me, that’s the limit, between six and seven hours; long days making me stronger!”

Thank you Connor and good luck for the winter and the season that follows!





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