Great Britain?s Ben Swift raced his heart out in the men?s under 23 world road race championship in Varese, showing his huge talent, but finished fourth after Germany?s John Degenklob got past him in the sprint to the line.

Swift made sure he got across to the decisive break of the race and then despite suffering with cramp during the final two laps, he rode smart and stayed with the leaders. He was slightly too far back when the attacks started in the final 500 metres but came up the inside in the finishing straight and gave it everything in the sprint.

Colombia?s Fabio Duarte managed to hold on to win after his powerful attack on the ramp into the racecourse. Italy?s Simone Ponzi and Degenklob just got past Swift on the line meaning he was one step from a medal and a place in his final race as an amateur before turning professional with the new Katyusha team.

?I?m a little disappointed not to get a medal or the jersey but I tried pretty hard to get it,? Swift said proudly.

?It was a really good circuit, they were tough climbs and whittled the group down a lot. We needed some in that move and luckily a group formed and I got across to it. I let myself down a little bit by not being in position and so I had to use energy to get back into the bike race but it needed to be done.?

?The Columbian was super strong in the breakaway all day and was definitely a worthy winner. I was cramping up on all the time and fighting to stay in position. I knew that if I lost contact on the climb I wouldn?t get back on over the top, so I luckily they didn?t jump around too much.?

?At the finish I got into a good position and was on (Italy?s Simone) Ponzi?s wheel. I know him quite well and we?ve raced a lot against each other, but when I went I had about 50 metres in me and that was it, I just blew.?

World Championships 2008Ben Swift in great form during the race. Photos by Luc Claessen

SWIFT SIGNS PRO CONTRACT WITH KATYUSHA

After his ride Swift climbed onto the Great Britain bus and signed his contract with the new Katyusha team. In 2009 he will ride with Robbie McEwen, Filippo Pozzato and Gert Steegmans. The world championships was his last race as an amateur rider.

?It?s quite exciting way to end to my amateur career. It should be good, I wanted to have a good last race,? he said.

?I was fourth in the European championships and fourth in the worlds. I?m a little bit consistent? It?s a shame it can?t be a little higher but I?m happy with my amateur career.?

ROAD WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS 2008

NEWS

GB gunning for medals in under-23 road race

Millar and Cummings disappointed with TT result

Thursday’s World Champs news

Millar and Cummings ready for Elite men’s time trial

World Champs men’s time trial course notes

Pooley and Laws talk before Worlds time trial

Pooley to use special time trial bars again

British under-23 TT riders finish out of the top 30

Daniel Martin selected for Irish under-23 worlds team

British team heads to Varese with genuine medal hopes

Cancellara to miss World Championships

Swift a close second in final race before Worlds

Rob Hayles on why he’s not riding the Worlds

GB Women’s Worlds team confirmed

British Worlds team starts to take shape

Geraint Thomas called up to Worlds team to replace Cavendish

Mark Cavendish pulls out of Worlds team

RACE REPORTS

Under-23 men’s road race: Colombian takes gold, Swift fourth

Men’s time trial: Grabsch grabs the win

Women’s time trial: America’s Amber Neben takes title

Under-23 time trial: report, results, photos

PHOTOS

Under-23 mena’s road race, by Graham Watson

Men’s time trial, by Luc Claessen

Women’s time trial, by Graham Watson

Under-23 men’s time trial

2007 World Champs: Men’s road race

2007 World Champs: Women’s road race

2008 WORLD CHAMPS GUIDE

Preview>>

TV coverage guide>>

Brits in the men’s world road race 1998-2007>>

Brits in the women’s world road race 1998-2007>>

Brits in the under-23 world road race 1998-2007>>

Britain’s road world championships medal winners>>