UAE-Team Emirates Ben Swift was frustrated that he was unable to contest the final kilometres of stage 19 of the Tour de France
The British sprinter was part of the 20-man break that formed early on in the mammoth 222.5km stage from Embrun to Salon-de-Provence, which was won by Dimension Data’s Edvald Boasson Hagen.
He felt confident of a high-placing, but missed a split late on when Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) attacked over an incline. The Yorkshireman was left frustrated and annoyed.
“I was feeling really good today, but that was a demonstration of how to mess up a race,” he said. “I was having a quick drink and the next thing I knew there was a split with the strongest guys in the front.
“De Gendt did a little acceleration over the top, some others accelerated and it was hard to do anything. Once they were in the draft of the motorbikes, there is no way you can bring them back.
“It’s the Tour de France and you don’t get these opportunities a lot. I was watching everyone, certainly trying to keep an eye on Eddy and [Daniele] Bennati (Movistar) and trying to use them as much as possible.
“The sensations I was feeling were really good. It was a long day in the saddle but one little mistake and that was it, it was gone.”
The Yorkshireman has finished in the top-10 of two stages in this year’s Tour, but illness in the second week set him back. He harboured hopes of building an assault on the green jersey classification, but with two stages to go sits in 19th position.
“The way that Michael Matthews has gone about getting that green jersey has been impressive,” he commented. “It was something I wanted to do going into the race.
“But it has unravelled. I am really sensitive to position change. I had the crash and had to change my cleats and stuff like that takes it out of me. I was then sick in the second week. But I’m happy to be going well in the final week. I need a fourth week!”
Swift will be skipping the Vuelta a España and Tour of Britain in preparation for the World Championships in Bergen, Norway. Instead he will race RideLondon-Surrey Classic, Eneco Tour, Hamburg Classics, GP Plouay and GP Québec and Montréal,