Second year pro Ben Swift clinched Sky’s first ever overall victory in a stage race in the Tour of Picardie on Sunday, finishing off with a ninth place on stage three’s bunch sprint to conclude a superb weekend for the 22-year-old.
In a truly dominating performance, the 22-year-old also took the Best Young Rider’s jersey, the points jersey, the win on Saturday’s stage and a second place on the opening day. To cap it all, Sky also won the teams prize and Russ Downing placed fourth overall.
“I’m really happy, I think everybody did a great job,” Swift told Cycling Weekly as he celebrated the first stage race win of his career.
“I’d had a bit of a knee injury in the Tour of Romandie, so I’m really pleased it worked out so well.”
With a ten second advantage prior to the last stage, Swift and Sky played a strategic game to keep the GC in their possession.
“We let a break go early to try and let them get the bonus seconds in the intermediate sprints, but two teams brought it back. After that I had to mark my man [Allan Davis of Astana, second overall] all the way to the finish.”
“Russ [Downing] and Geraint [Thomas] stayed with me all the time, and I got ninth on the stage. The team couldn’t do the full leadout because they’d been drilling it on the front all the way.”
“It all couldn’t have worked out better, and getting that first overall stage win in Sky’s history is good, too.”
After a couple of weeks rest, Swift now goes on to the Tour of Luxemberg and then the Tour of Switzerland before tackling the Nationals in late June.
Tour de Picardie 2010: Final overall classification
1. Ben Swift (GB) Team Sky 12-26-25
2. Koldo Fernandez (Spa) Euskaltel-Eukadi at 7secs
3. Allan Davis (Aus) Astana at 10secs
4. Russell Downing (GB) Team Sky at 12secs
5. Michael Van Staeyen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator at 16secs
6. Borut Bozic (Slo) Vacansoleil at 16secs
7. Alexandre Pichot (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom at 16secs
8. Steven Van Vooren (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator at 19secs
9. Mikhaylo Khalilov (Ukr) Katusha at 20secs
10. Jimmy Casper (Fra) Saur-Sojasun at 21secs