Volta a Catalunya - Stage 3

The story so far…

Hello Everyone
All things considered it has been a solid start for me in this 2016 season. Overall I am happy with my form and pleased that I have been on the podium regularly, the one main disappointment is that it has not been on the top step…yet!
I got a second place at the Tour down Under in January, then placed third and second on two stages of the Ruta Del Sol in February which helped me win the points jersey beating Alejandro Valverde into second place. Then at Paris Nice I got another second on Stage 1 and finished 3rd in the points classification.

Second at Milan San Remo

A Second at Milan San Remo is always bittersweet !

This form then brought me to one of my main season goals, La Primavera or Milan – San Remo. I’d placed 3rd before and this year after great help from the team came second behind Arnaud Demare. Second place is always tinged with disappointment but as I said at the start the form is there so maybe I just need the rub of the green in the final charge to seal a win, so much can happen in the last part of a race the smallest thing can decide the outcome.

You can ready my thoughts about the MSR race here

I took my form from Milan into the Volta Catalunya and placed second again on Stage 1 before I had to withdraw because of illness. So although the first places haven’t come I feel strong and ready to go into the next part of the season.

I recently did and interview with RCUK about some current cycling topics and where I am at with regard my season….Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 14.31.39

Read the whole interview on the website here
Thanks for all your continued support and see you on the road!

cheers

Ben

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2016 Goals!

Hi All,
So the 2016 season is underway its been a good start for me over in Australia and Dubai, I’m now just about to begin the Vuelta a Andalucia.

In January I spoke to the Yorkshire Post about my goals for this year. I enjoyed the interview and it will give you guys a good insight into exactly what I’m looking to get done this year!


BEN SWIFT has set himself an audacious set of goals for 2016 in a bid to convince Team Sky he is worthy of their continued faith in his talents. The Rotherham sprinter is opting for an all-or-nothing approach as enters the final year of his contract and his seventh season with the all-conquering British team.

The 28-year-old hopes to produce a number of consistent performances and race wins in the first part of the campaign, with March’s Milan-San Remo and the Tour de Yorkshire over the May Bank Holiday weekend, his primary targets.

Then, after an intense block of training and a shift in focus, the Yorkshireman wants to stake a claim to play a key role in support of Chris Froome’s bid for a third Tour de France yellow jersey before riding in support of whoever is Britain’s designated sprinter at the Rio Olympics. All this despite sitting out three months of last year with the shoulder injury he sustained when crashing out of a rain-lashed opening stage of the Tour de Yorkshire.

“I’ve spoken to the team and told them I’d like to do the Tour de France in support of Chris,” said Swift, whose one and only ride in the race came in 2011, long before Sky were the biggest team in the peloton.

“To get into the equation I’d have to change my role to be more of a support rider, and lose a bit of weight to get into that position.

“But I’ve told them I want to do that. In the first part of the season, my focus is on results, then after the Tour de Yorkshire and Tour of California in early May it’s three weeks of solid training to the Tour de Suisse when I can, hopefully, put myself into a better position as a support rider.

There’s also the Olympics this summer so it’s quite a big year. “If I can get to Rio, it’ll once again be as a supporting rider in the road race. I did the test event last year at Rio and a it’s a climbers’ course, so that’s further reason to lose the weight and change my style a little.”

Swift is under no illusions as to the size of the challenge he is setting himself. Sky’s signing this year of 2014 world champion Michal Kwiatkowski illustrates the depth of roster he has to fight his way through for one of eight highly-coveted spots in support of Froome.

A place on an even smaller team in Rio will be equally sought-after among a British professional cycling community that grows by the year. “The depth of talent in British Cycling is staggering right now,” admits Swift, who, as a 20-year-old, rode for Great Britain in the road race at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

“I was an amateur back then, but British Cycling has grown massively since, and the difference between Beijing and Rio just emphasizes that.” If it does not all go to plan this year, Swift appreciates that while Sky chief Dave Brailsford has been quoted in this newspaper before as being a huge admirer of Swift’s work ethic, cycling is a results business and it might be time to move on.

“I don’t know whether I’ll be with the team in 2017,” concedes Swift, whose one and only season as a professional outside of the Sky bubble came with Russian outfit Katusha in 2009. “I’ll have to weigh up my options. I’ve grown up with all these guys but I’m not afraid to move on and see what other opportunities are out there for me.”

A good indicator of the year ahead for Swift will come in Australia this week.

The 2016 Tour Down Under

The 2016 Tour Down Under

His first race of the year is a criterium in Adelaide tomorrow before the start of the six-day Tour Down Under on Tuesday.

Australia is a happy hunting ground for Swift, who won a track world title there in 2012 a year after winning two stages of the Tour Down Under. His third-place finish in the RideLondon Classic late last summer proves he has overcome his latest spell on the sidelines.

“I’ve had surgery twice on the left shoulder and twice on the right. I’m like the bionic man,” jokes Swift, from the team’s training camp in Adelaide.

“It must be my genetic make-up. You could have five crashes a year and be all right and then I can land on my shoulder just once and I’m sidelined. But you can’t worry about injuries.”

Two years ago, he showed there was no lingering physical or mental affects by tearing into the 2014 season, producing his best run of form that produced two wins, a third place in the Milan-San Remo and a second-place finish on a stage of the Giro d’Italia.

“I came out of the 2013 surgery really well so I’ve got that to reflect on, not that I want to be someone who is repeatedly forced to take the second half of the year out,” he says. “Hopefully, though, that break in the middle of last year has put me in good shape for the season.”

The circumstances surrounding his enforced absence were particularly cruel. Swift, as the county’s leading rider in the world peloton, had been the face of the inaugural Tour de Yorkshire last May. He was an active promoter of the event, and, as team leader of Sky that week, much was expected.

So his crash on the road to Scarborough on day one left him with painful memories.“I had quite a dreadful time there last year,” says Swift, who admits he will focus solely on the racing this year in lieu of promoting the event.

“I had a lot of home support so for that to happen was really disappointing.“A home Tour was a big deal for me but the good thing is it’s hopefully around for a long time so I get another chance at it.“It feels a little like unfinished business and I’m excited about this year’s race. The third stage is into Doncaster, which is about 15 miles from where I grew up.”

 

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Off – Season 2015: Travels and Training

Hi All, It’s been a while since I updated the site but I’m back and fully into my training schedule for the 2016 season and very much looking forward to next years racing. So what have I been up to since my last races of 2015 in Japan? Well those of you who follow me on my Twitter and Instagram will probably of seen me trying as best I can to escape the winter weather in the UK ! Anyway here are a few pictures showing my travels since the season finished.

At the beginning of November I headed of to South Africa!

At the beginning of November I headed off to South Africa!

In SA i took part in the awesome 3 day MTB challenge Wines to Whales. Check out the link to the event below

In SA I took part in the awesome 3 day MTB challenge Wines to Whales. Check out the link to the event below

It had been a long time since I’d ridden an MTB let alone raced in a 3 day challenge across some amazing terrain in South Africa but the Wines to Whales event and race is fantastic and thoroughly recommended check out the website of the event here.

Thanks to my Hot Chillee partner Jan Braai I made it through the race

Thanks to my Hot Chillee partner Jan Braai I made it through the race.

After South Africa in early November it was time for something completely different as I headed of to LA and Las Vegas for a short break from the bike

Focusing on 2016 goals looking over the Grand Canyon

Focusing on 2016 goals looking over the Grand Canyon!

It was nice to get a bit of time to catch up on some reading...Thoroughly recommended from a great comedian!

It was nice to get a bit of time to catch up on some reading…Thoroughly recommended book by a great comedian!

After my break in the US my 2016 training properly started in mid November and I hit the UK roads for a good training block before heading out again to Cape Town South Africa for some hard training  and to participate in the Hot Chillee Points Race.

As usual I had a great time down in SA with Sven Thiele and the HC crew.

As usual I had a great time down in SA with Sven Thiele and the HC crew.

I’m still down here in SA and am now back to some serious training in the run up to Xmas with one  event with Hot Chillee on the 17th December if your in Cape Town see you there!

Look out for my next update soon…
See you on the road!

Ben

 

Back on the road and back racing in 2015

Felt good to get a podium on my comeback

Felt good to get a podium on my comeback

So I’m back in the saddle and racing again! Which It is a great feeling and now I’m looking forward to getting my form back up and trying to go better than my comeback race… Though 3rd place at the RideLondon-Surrey Classic has defo. given me confidence for the rest of my season.

And i must say a belated congratulations to Froomey and all the Team that won this years Tour De France, they are an inspiration to us all !

I am currently finalising my racing and training schedule for the remainder of 2015 season, so ill see you all on the road soon and as always thanks for the continued support!

Cheers Ben

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Tour of Yorskhire recovery

Hi everyone,

Here is a quick one armed update from me… Thanks to all that have wished me well since my fall at this years Tour of Yorkshire a race that has a special place in my heart as I helped launch it and was a great supporter.

Back on the trainer, getting the legs moving again

Back on the trainer, getting the legs moving again

 

During the race I was feeling good and we were going along well then all of us a sudden one slick descent derailed the whole plan! This is bike racing and we move on….but all the well wishes mean a lot and I’m now back on the road to recovery after an operation on the shoulder.

So its back to the turbo trainer for me for a while and i’ll update you all with a return date asap!

Thanks again!

Ben

 

Basque Country Tour - Stage 2

Resting then Racing!

Hi All

So a little update for you: after two difficult days in Pais Vasco, I headed home for some R&R. I felt super fatigued going into this race and didn’t have the legs I needed to achieve the goals I wanted at the race.

With Basque been such a difficult race we made the best decision to stop. I am now going to take a few days off the bike to recover a build towards my next goals of the season.

Next up for me is Tour of Yorkshire which is going to be a special race for me so I need to be fresh and ready to go!

After that I head to Tour of California where I have fond memories and I am looking forward to riding this race again.

I'm Going back to Cali! photo: Graham Watson

I’m Going back to Cali! photo: Graham Watson

I will then have a couple of weeks before riding Tour de Swiss and then the Nationals championships.

I have some great races and goals on the horizon, so I need to take this time to recover and then build towards those. Really looking forward to it and as ever thanks for your support!

Paris-Nice - Stage One

From Nice to Milan !

Hi All, After a good training camp in Tuscany at the beginning of March I headed straight to Paris for my first Paris – Nice… which turned out great for the team.

The "Race to the Sun" turned out to be the "Race through the cold and grey"

The “Race to the Sun” turned out to be the “Race through the cold and grey”

Huge congratulations to Richie Porte and a special mention to Geraint Thomas who was also looking super strong and it was unlucky that G did not make the podium.  I was happy with my progression and was feeling good so now I’m getting some rest and preparing for one of my first main goals of the season Milan San Remo…ill be hoping to go one or maybe two better than last year!

Your truly on Stage 5 of a very successful race for Team Sky

Your truly on Stage 5 of  Paris Nice ..a very successful race for Team Sky – ALL PHOTOS COURTESY OF GRAHAM WATSON

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Volta ao Algarve - Stage 3

The 2015 season begins !

It’s been a quick start for me in 2015 ! And its been great to be on the bike and mixing it up as much possible in the first races, however all this racing and traveling has left little time to sit down and write any blog updates on my progress and thoughts for this year! I have, however sat down with a number of publications and websites about my plans so I hope these recent interviews and features below will help fill you in!

I am currently between races now and just about to set off for Tuscany for some training in one of my favourite parts of the world. I’m feeling good after what was a great race for the team in Portugal at the Volta Algarve and it was awesome for G to take the race win! Along with our race it was fantastic to watch Froomey and the other guys perform so well in Andalucia these races will help to build confidence throughout the team as we head into the Spring and Classics season.

See you soon

Ben !
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Click HERE to read my thoughts on the inaugural Tour of Yorkshire!
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Here are some handy hints from me on the RCUK website click HERE to read more

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Finally a recent chat I had with Cycling News re my first main target of the year…Read it HERE

 

Basque Country Tour - Stage 5

Happy New Year 2015!

I hope everyone had a great New Year, I really can’t wait for the 2015 season to get started. I had a lovely Xmas and NYE back in the UK before I head back to the Team Sky base in Mallorca for the rest of January. Got some good miles in today with Russ Downing and the weather was pretty good but a little on the chilly side !

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Good way to start 2015 a beauty of a day out on the Peaks !

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South Africa 2014

Hi All,

As you may well of seen I returned to South Africa this November to ride with the Hot Chillee Team at the Coronation Double Century Race which is organised by the Cape Town Cycle Tour Trust and starts in Swellendam it’s a brutal 200km team time trial with over 250 teams and over 2,700 riders so a big old event.

I was also in Cape Town to catch up with Nic Dlamini, whom I have been mentoring along with Stephen Roche for the last year or so. Nic had a great year on the bike and I was able to congratulate him on his first pro contract that begins in 2015 with MTB-Qhubeka.

Our team for the Coronation Race that included myself and Nic finished second a fine result as we went one place better than last year! Obviously in 2015 we now need to win it!

Here are some photos and a little video from my time out in Cape Town.

Nic and I with some of the kids from his local town Khayelitsha

The race was hard...but the conditions, pretty good!

The race was hard…but the conditions, pretty good!

 

SA truly is a beautiful place to ride a bike!

SA truly is a beautiful place to ride a bike!

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Was really happy to be able to congratulate Nic on his contract with MTN-Qhubeka.
Good luck in 2015!