Great Britain?s Ben Swift finished a close second to Italy?s Simone Ponzi in the Giro del Canavese on Sunday, the final men?s under 23 road race before this week?s world championships in Varese.

Swift got away with Ponzi, who is likely to lead the Italian team at the worlds, and Angelo Pagani on the final lap of the race after being in an early break of 14 riders that decided the race.

Swift was in the move with team mate Pete Kennaugh along with three Italian national team riders but made sure he was part of the eight rider move with two laps to go and then went clear with Ponzi and Pagani on the final lap.

They opened a 45 second lead on the bunch and then fought for the win in a sprint. Swift and Ponzi were the strongest and went shoulder to shoulder. Both threw their bikes at the line but the Italian got it by a whisker, even lifting his back wheel off the ground as he threw his bike at the line.

?It was a very good ride by Swifty and everybody in the team felt good, so things are on track for the worlds,? coach Rod Ellingworth told Cycling Weekly.

?Because the early break stayed away it meant other riders were out of the finale but Ben rode well despite being out numbered by the Italians in the moves. It was a close sprint. Ben lead it out but Ponzi just got round him.?

Swift?s performance confirmed he is on form after riding well at the Tour of Britain and he must be one of the favourites for the under 23 men?s road race on Friday. Swift will be joint leader of the Great Britain team with Jonny Bellis, while Pete Kennaugh could be the surprise of the British team and of the race after his strong end of season. Also in the five-rider team are Alex Dowsett and Jonny McEvoy and will play a key role during the 173km race.

The British riders travelled to their hotel near Varese directly form the International Under 23 race near Turin and will begin to study the course for the road race during training on Monday.

Click here to see the photograph of the sprint finish.

GIRO DEL CANAVESE 2008: RESULTS

1. Simone Ponzi (Italy) 178km in 4h 9min 30secs


2. Ben Swift (Great Britain)

3. Angelo Pagani (Filmop Bottoli) at same time

4. Sacha Modolo (Zalf Desiree Fior) at 45secs

5. Daniel Oss (Italy)

6. Damiano Caruso (Italy)

7. Alberto Contoli (Filmop Bottori) at same time

8. Eamnuele Boaro (Zalf Desiree Fior) at 50secs

9. Simon Geschke (Germany) at 5min 25secs

10. Daniele Ferrarese (Zalf Desiree Fior) at same time.

ROAD WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS 2008

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British Worlds team starts to take shape

Geraint Thomas called up to Worlds team to replace Cavendish

Mark Cavendish pulls out of Worlds team

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