By Jonny Long
Connor Swift thought he'd celebrated too early but survived a nervy wait for the photo finish to confirm his victory at Tro-Bro Léon 2021.
The relief in the Arkéa-Samsic rider's celebration after word came through that he'd won was plain to see, bringing his team-mates in close as the French team won their first race on home soil this season.
"It's my biggest win after the national championships... it was a wonderful course, a beautiful course, and it was great to win today," the 2018 British road race champion said after the finish, speaking French in the most Yorkshire accent possible to the TV broadcasters.
The 25-year-old outsprinted Cofidis' Piet Allegaert and Baptiste Planckaert (Intermarché-Wanty - Gobert Matériaux) to claim the win, throwing his hands up across the line before Allegaert came very close to snatching the victory.
Swift had made it into a group off the front before unsuccessfully trying to get away on the final dirt sector, then opening up his sprint early and landing the win. Lotto-Soudal's John Degenkolb led the bunch home 26 seconds later ahead of Ag2r Citroën's Oliver Naesen, Philippe Gilbert also finishing just outside the top 10.
"In the final I attacked really well and all the time the other riders were coming back to me. Before the finish, I started my sprint with 500 or 600 metres to go and it worked," Swift explained.
"I thought I had celebrated too soon before the line but I managed to take the win."
Swift, who made his Grand Tour debut at the Tour de France last summer and played a key domestique role for leader Nairo Quintana, will next line up at the Boucles de la Mayenne on May 27, having already raced a full Classics programme as well as Paris-Nice this season.
Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races. I'm 6'0", 26 years old, have a strong hairline and have an adequate amount of savings for someone my age. I'm very single at the minute so if you know anyone, hit me up.
Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab, reporting about students evacuating their bowels on nightclub dancefloors and consecrating their love on lecture hall floors. I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).
I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.
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