Team Sky rider Ben Swift scored a notable success in the Tour of Picardie on Saturday, taking both the stage win and the overall lead in one fell swoop.
Following his stage victory in last September’s Tour of Britain, the second-year pro took win number two of his career when he outpowered veteran Aussie fastman Allan Davis (Astana) in a tough uphill sprint in the town of Cires-les-Melo. Swift’s Sky team-mate Russell Downing was third.
With just one stage remaining in the three-day event, the three riders are in the same order overall, with Swift 10 seconds ahead of Davis on general classification and 12 up on Downing.
As if that wasn’t impressive enough, following his second place in the opening stage, the 22-year-old Swift also leads in the points and Best Young Rider competitions, whilst Sky are also in control of the team’s prize as well.
Sky’s control on events was such that they shredded the field in the run-in, leaving only eight riders in the same time as Swift, with the rest of the pack a further six seconds back.
“We kind of annihilated them,” Swift told Cycling Weekly. “The team was so strong today, they did a brilliant job with the lead-out.”
“I knew that I’d been going well after I got that second place and the uphill finish suited me so it all worked out fine.”
“I had a little bit of an accident with Allan Davis on a corner just before the sprint where I kind of half-fell sideways and banged into him. But it wasn’t on purpose.”
If Swift holds onto the leader’s jersey in Sunday’s stage three, another flattish stage which could well end in a bunch sprint again, he will become the first Sky rider to take a stage race victory overall.
“There’s a few ups and downs, but I’ve got that ten second gap, so hopefull it’ll work out.”
Tour de Picardie 2010, stage 2
1. Ben Swift (GB) Team Sky in 4-08-30
2. Allan Davis (Aus) Astana
3. Russell Downing (GB) Team Sky
4. Mikhaylo Khalilov (Ukr) Katusha
5. Alexandre Pichot (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom all same time.
Overall classification after stage two
1. Ben Swift (GB) Team Sky in 8-24-19
2. Allan Davis (Aus) Astana at 10secs
3. Russell Downing (GB) Team Sky at 12secs
4. Michael Van Staeyen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen at 16secs
5. Borut Bozic (Slo) Vacansoleil at 16secs