Ben Swift continued his impressive debut as a professional with the Russian Katusha team at the weekend, finishing tenth and eighth in the GP Insubria and the GP Lugano races in Switzerland.
Few riders get in the results in their first season as a professional but Swift has quickly shown his class and ability by making the key selection in both races and was not scared to take on some of the big names in the peloton in the sprint to the line.
The Katusha team has already praised Swift for his solid riding and gave him a free hand in Switzerland. He immediately paid them back by finishing best Katusha rider in both races.
?I?m pretty happy with those results,? Swift told Cycling Weekly as he stopped for a well-deserved cappuccino during a recovery ride near his base in Tuscany on Monday.
?The team gave me a free role and so I could ride for myself and I just tried to take it advantage and do a ride.?
?To be honest Saturday?s race could have gone even better. I was on Ginanni?s wheel in the last kilometre, ready for the sprint, but then someone went past me and I jumped on his wheel thinking it would be a good lead out. Unfortunately he died with about 250m to go and it was a headwind sprint, so there wasn?t much I could.?
?If I?d stayed on Ginanni?s wheel I don?t think I would have beaten him but perhaps I could have followed him and got a better placing but that?s bike racing.?
Despite his efforts on Saturday, Swift was strong on Sunday despite awful weather conditions, and made the key selection on the final climb.
?The weather was terrible and it was wet and icy cold all day. It was a hilly race and there were only about 25 of us left on the last climb,? he says.
?Rebellin attacked over the top and I just couldn?t go with him. Pauriol joined him on the really dangerous descent and won. I was in the group just behind with Wegmann and Cunego and managed to win the sprint.?
NEXT RACE: THE EROICA
Thanks to his good form and impressive start to the season, the Katusha team has changed Swift?s programme. Instead of heading to Belgium for the Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen, he will now get to stay in Italy and ride the Eroica race on Saturday before another block of stage racing at the end of the month.
?Riding the Tour of Qatar was a real eye opener. It wasn?t really my kind of race but it was a good way to start my pro career and the season,? Swift tells Cycling Weekly.
?I learnt a lot and it really helped my form. I felt good in Grosseto a couple of weeks ago and have picked it up even more since then.?
?The Eroica should be good even if the weather is forcast to be wet all week in Italy, and then I?ve got the Settimana Coppi & Bartali and the Settimana Lombarda stage races. They?re both in Italy, I know the style of racing and the type of roads pretty well and so I?m looking forward to them and can hopefully get some more results.?