Feature: Connor Swift (Madison Genesis)

Chat with Connor Swift of Madison Genesis mid Tour of Britain to chat about that bike and the race so far for him …

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Feature: Connor Swift (Madison Genesis)

The British Champion Connor Swift of Madison Genesis is looking for some tough finishes to try and get a shot at a stage win. He got that shot on stage 3 where he was sixth. He isn’t finished yet though and we had a chat to him about his Tour of Britain so far.

You can’t miss Connor at the Tour of Britain. Not only does he have a very special bike, the Genesis Zero SL with a custom paint job, he also has custom shoes (customised by Jessie Walker) as well custom glasses and helmet. “It feels real good to have all the special kit” he says unsurprisingly. “On the first day I had Alaphilippe say to me ‘cool bike’ so getting them compliments from the big guys is quite nice”.

Asked how long the special bike was in the making, he says “the day after the nationals, I was told I would get a custom bike, so it has been quite a while in the making. They had to ship a blank canvas (frame) to the studio where it was to be painted and as soon as he received it, he (Doktor Bobby) had two weeks and it’s been finished just time for the Tour of Britain.”

Connor then explained how the look of the champion’s bike came about? “I told them I didn’t want a plain white standard national champs bike. I wanted some colour on it and he came up with the idea of the paint splatters. He sent me a few samples and I was real happy with that and then having the divide of the splatter at the rear and more plain at the front, it’s a good combo.”

But not only does Connor look the business with his special bike and kit, he is also doing it justice by being in the mix. His highlight was stage 3 where he was sixth. “”The stage suited me although positioning wise on the final climbs, I was probably too far back and used a bit too much moving up on those final climbs. That maybe cost me a little in the sprint but it’s still good to be in there and get stuck in. I know if we have a similar stage to that again, that the lumpier finish suits me”.

I put it to Connor that performances like that on stage 3 where he is going wheel to wheel with the World Tour guys at the finish of races, must give him confidence for the Tour and beyond. “I get a lot of motivation from my performances for sure”.

“I can now look at races and stages and see where there are some short steep climbs at the back of stages, and I know I can be in contention at the end. I don’t have the fastest kick on me but when a few sprinters are thrown out of the equation, I can be there.”

Giving us an insight into stage 3, he says “the World Tour guys on stage 3 were jumping around and wanting to be in the break and I was kind of tagging Sky a bit more. I thought if a break is going to stick, it will definitely have one of those boys in it. And then we had Matt (Holmes) in the break and it was dead fast all day. A really aggressive day”.

One of the challenges for the British teams is to have good position on the road, not easy when you have so many World Tour teams in the mix also fighting for that same space on the road. “You have all the world tour teams lined up at the front and you just have to wait for a little gap or opening at the side and as soon as you see it, you have to take it” Connor says” adding “and sprint basically.”
“You move up and then try and hold position and if you get swamped again, do it all over again. And it’s those micro efforts you have to do. You just can’t sit comfortable even at the back”.

Are riders in the big teams looking at faces or jerseys when you try to get in gaps I asked? “I’d say a bit of both” says Connor. “There have been times when I have had ‘G’ (Geraint Thomas, Tour de France winner) at the side of me, and out of respect you let him have that gap – you’re not going to squeeze him into some one else and get a bad reputation.”

And the level of the race – like Norway where he rode for Dimension Data? “The level has been similar to Norway and it’s good to be getting stuck in in my home tour wearing the national jersey.”

Asked about the future stages in the race, Connor says “We (the team) are still wanting to get in breakaways and I’ll try and have a crack at a sprint (stage 4 with no result), and then after the team time trial, see what the GC standings are. The hill top finish stage (6) may not suit me as much so maybe I’ll go for the break instead and the same on the Mansfield stage (7).”

And London I said? “It will be good to get stuck in there as well and its a case of being aggressive. You know its the last stage so there is nothing to lose on GC so it is just a case of going for the stage result.” Good luck to Connor for the rest of the Tour of Britain.

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