Ben Swift is out of this year’s Giro d’Italia after fracturing his right shoulder in a training ride today. He will be replaced by Jeremy Hunt.
“Well that is my Giro over, had a very heavy crash out on the bike today very disappointed not to be able to start. Further checks tomorrow,” Swift said via Twitter.
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Swift had been scheduled to ride the Giro in support of world champion Mark Cavendish in his hunt for stage wins.
Cavendish was one of the first to offer his commiserations to his team-mate: “Really gutted for @swiftybswift to be leaving before the race has started. He crashed VERY heavily today in training. Get well soon mate,” Cavendish said on Twitter.
Swift recently announced his intentions to pull out of the British team pursuit squad and concentrate on his road career and gaining a place in the team for the Olympic road race team.
He now faces at least one month out of racing, leaving him in a race against time to gain form, and selection for the Olympic road race on July 28.
Swift will return to the UK and will hope to be training on a static trainer as soon as possible. When he was in British Cycling’s Olympic Academy he impressed his coach by training on a static trainer, with a broken collarbone, following the efforts being played out on the cycling DVDs he was watching.
Swift has done little road racing this year after concentrating on the track since last November. Although he didn’t ride in the team pursuit at the World Championships in Melbourne he went on to win the scratch race and take silver medals in both the points and Madison (with Geraint Thomas).
Hunt, 38, comes into the Giro having ridden alongside Cavendish in almost all of the Manxman’s races with Sky so far this season.
Hunt and Cavendish join fellow Brits Ian Stannard, Peter Kennaugh and Geraint Thomas in Sky’s Giro line-up alongside Austrian Bernhard Eisel, Spaniard Juan Antonio Flecha, and Colombians Sergio Henao and Rigoberto Uran.
The 2012 Giro d’Italia commences on Saturday in Herning, Denmark, and finishes on Sunday, May 27, in Milan.