Ben Swift: 'I took a drink and then the break split. A demonstration of how to mess up a race'

UAE-Team Emirates Ben Swift was frustrated that he was unable to contest the final kilometres of stage 19 of the Tour de France

Ben Swift on stage 18 of the Tour de France
(Image credit: Yuzuru Sunada)

Ben Swift (UAE-Team Emirates) bemoaned the mistiming of taking a drink, as a day-long breakaway proved fruitless on 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.

>>> Five talking points from stage 19 of the Tour de France

"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,

Thank you for reading 10 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Chris Marshall-Bell

Chris first started writing for Cycling Weekly in 2013 on work experience and has since become a regular name in the magazine and on the website. Reporting from races, long interviews with riders from the peloton and riding features drive his love of writing about all things two wheels.

Probably a bit too obsessed with mountains, he was previously found playing and guiding in the Canadian Rockies, and now mostly lives in the Val d’Aran in the Spanish Pyrenees where he’s a ski instructor in the winter and cycling guide in the summer. He almost certainly holds the record for the most number of interviews conducted from snowy mountains.