Britain?s Ben Swift is to ride as stagiere for the Barloworld squad for the remainder of the year, and is expected to sign a full contract for 2008.

The British Cycling Olympic Academy rider had been in discussions with several professional teams but decided on the British registered, Italian based squad due to Geraint Thomas?s success there.

Barloworld team boss Claudio Corti confirmed to Cycling Weekly before stage 12 of the Tour that Swift was joining the team as they look to build stronger links with British Cycling.

The UCI Professional Continental team has been one of the most successful at this year?s Tour after gaining a wildcard invitation, and may soon make the leap in to the ProTour.

Corti is to meet with bosses from the South African brand management company soon after the Tour, but is currently being cautious over next year?s plans.

Swift has been one of the Academy?s most consistent performers this year, gaining results on the track and road, and becomes the third rider to turn professional from the Olympic Academy. He is likely to join former Academy team mate Thomas at Barloworld from August 1st.

19-year-old Swift is currently in Bulgaria with the rest of the British team at the European road championships.

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Simon Richardson
Simon Richardson

Editor of Cycling Weekly magazine, Simon has been working at the title since 2001. He fell in love with cycling when channel surfing in 1989 and happening across the greatest ever edition of the Tour de France. He's been a Greg LeMond fan ever since. He started racing in 1995 when moving to university in North Wales gave him more time to train and some amazing roads to train on. He raced domestically for several years, riding everything from Surrey leagues to time trials, track and even a few Premier Calendars. In 2000 he spent one season racing in Belgium with the Kingsnorth International Wheelers. 

Since working for Cycling Weekly he has written product reviews, fitness features, pro interviews, race coverage and news. He has covered the Tour de France more times than he can remember along with two Olympic Games and many other international and UK domestic races. He can still be seen at his club's evening races through the summer but he still hasn't completed the CW5000 challenge!

Simon is currently riding

Road bike: Pinarello K8S with Shimano Dura Ace

TT bike: Specialized Venge road bike with FFWD wheels and Easton Attack TT bars

Gravel bike: N/A

Training bike: Rourke custom hand made with Reynolds 853 steel