Selection for Giro ends Swift’s hopes of starring at home

Yorkshire's Ben Swift.
Yorkshire's Ben Swift.
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Rotherham cyclist Ben Swift will ride a Grand Tour this summer – but it will not be the Tour de France which starts in his home county.

The 26-year-old sprinter has been named in Team Sky’s provisional nine-man squad for the Giro d’Italia which begins on May 9 in Ireland.

It is the fourth time Swift has been selected for a three-week Grand Tour and the second time he has been chosen to contest the Giro.

The selection as one of only two Britons in Dave Brailsford’s Sky squad comes after a stellar start to the 2014 season which has seen Swift earn a third-place finish at the prestigious Milan-San Remo and a couple of stage-race victories.

That has all been achieved just six months after he brought a premature end to his 2013 campaign to undergo surgery on a shoulder injury that had plagued him for three years.

Selection for the Giro is a pat on the back for his form this Spring, but it is likely to mean he will not be chosen to race the Tour de France which begins in Yorkshire five weeks after the end of the Giro.

Not many riders other than powerful domestiques or general classification contenders get the chance to ride successive three-week tours in such a short space of time.

Pete Kennaugh is the other Briton in Sky’s Giro team who, like Swift, has a strong history on the track. He raced the Tour de France last year, making a name for himself as a selfless domestique in support of eventual winner Chris Froome.

Norwegian Edvald Boasson Hagen, who like Swift is vying for the sprinting jersey in Sky’s Tour de France team, has also been selected for the Giro.

Swift joins Leeds’s Josh Edmondson at the revered classics race La Fleche Wallone in Belgium today.

Burley-in-Wharfedale’s Scott Thwaites, 23, yesterday helped NetApp Endura – a wild card entry into this year’s Tour de France – to a second-place finish in the team time trial on day one of the four-day Giro del Trentino in Italy yesterday.

It was Thwaites’s first taste of a team time trial as he continues his own preparations to make the German squad for this summer’s Tour.

NetApp yesterday finished ahead of Team Sky,who had Sir Bradley Wiggins among their ranks.