Rising British sprint star Ben Swift has described his signing to the new Team Sky ProTour squad as like ‘coming home’.
The 22 year old was present at Team Sky’s official launch in London in Monday, and looked at ease among his new team-mates after a difficult end to the 2009 season.
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Swift found himself at the centre of controversy in an apparent battle between his former Katusha team and the newly-formed Team Sky. Sky wanted to sign Swift, but Katusha insisted that he see out his two-year contract until the end of 2010.
However, an agreement between the two teams has evidently been met, and Swift is now free to don the blue and black kit of the British team.
“I’m massively grateful to Katusha for the opportunities they gave me,” said Swift.
“But coming to Team Sky feels like coming home because I know so many of the support staff and riders. I will be in the perfect environment to grow as a rider with Team Sky.”
Sky manager David Brailsford was evidently happy to have finally netted his man. “Ben is a real talent and his future looks bright because he ticks all the boxes that it takes to make it in this sport,” he said.
“He’s extremely serious, skilled on bike, he can climb and sprint and I really believe he can go far with us. We’ve worked quite some time with him on the track and I think the next years could be a massive breakthrough for him on the road as well”.
Swift signed for Katusha at the start of the 2009 season, having been nutured via the British Cycling Academy system. He scored a third place in stage two of the 2009 Giro d’Italia in May, and then won stage seven of the Tour of Britain in September.
Swift’s signing to Sky brings the number of British riders in the team to eight, out of a total of 26 riders.
Swift makes his racing debut for Sky at the Tour Down Under (January 19-24) in Australia.