News: Connor Swift wins TroBro Leon

In his third time at TroBro Leon, France’s version of the CiCLE Classic, Connor Swift celebrated a fantastic victory in this high ranking road race

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News: Connor Swift wins TroBro Leon

Sunday saw France’s version of the CiCLE Classic, Tro Bro Leon, a race with longer gravel sections but one that is popular with riders wanting to win it. Ranked at 1.Pro, the race was packed with top riders which makes the win by Connor Swift all the more significant.

The 37th edition of the Breton classic crossed the surroundings of Lannilis, over a course of 207 kilometers. The parcour had 26 unpaved sectors, dirt roads called “ribins”. In addition to these sections, the climbs of La Croix Neuve, Kervaro and Keravel Broënou, increased the difficulty of the event nicknamed the “Paris-Roubaix of the West”.

With pouring rain and a wind blowing in places up to 80 km/h, nine riders managed to create the first break of the day. The difficult conditions made the race particularly nervous and the breakaway could never enjoy a lead of more than two minutes. 100 kilometres from the finish, a crash sent many riders to the ground in front of the peloton although many were able to get up and rejoin the peloton.

After three hours of racing, an important selection had been made and it was a peloton of forty riders who approached the last 12 unpaved sectors, with the attackers sitting 35 seconds in front. Come the finish, Connor was part of a group of five and whilst he admits celebrating a little early, and had an agonising wait for the verdict, the win for Connor and all his fans was a great day in his career.

Connor Swift (2021 Tro Bro Leon winner): “It’s crazy, I’m so happy. This is my first victory with Arkéa-Samsic after two years in the team. On top of that, winning in Brittany is just great. This race beats in the hearts of our entire team. I put my hands up a little too soon and I thought I didn’t win the race after crossing the line. When I heard “Connor Swift winner” it was amazing.”

“It’s pure emotion! That moment after the line was awesome. I will never forget that moment. It’s the best feeling. Everyone is so happy, my teammates, the team … That’s why we ride a bike. Win races. This is the third time that I have competed in this race. The first time in 2017, after running the Tro Bro Leon, I went home and said to my cousin Ben Swift, “I want to win this competition someday”. Elie won a short while ago, Winner won yesterday, it’s great for the dynamics of the team. When you see your teammates winning you say to yourself, “Hey, this can be my turn today. It’s a special moment, a great dynamic. It’s crazy, I’m so happy.

Baptiste Planckaert (3rd): “You can write it down: Tro Bro Léon is one of the most beautiful races of the year. Of course I am very happy with my third place, but if you end up finishing half a wheel from victory, you will always be a little disappointed. But this morning I had definitely signed up for a podium, you know. When almost every strong team was represented in the leading group, I knew the peloton would stop riding. I hoped to get a few riders with me, but when no one followed so I closed the gap with the front group on my own. When I joined them, we were riding towards the final tough gravel section and I tried to anticipate to ride it at my own pace. When I started sprinting I felt the fatigue in my legs after a tough race. My shape is good, but I’m not at my best yet. I could compensate that with my driving skills, experience and love for this race though! You have to be able to fight for your position here and that is one of my specialties!”

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