Rotherham cyclist Ben Swift is heading back to Team Sky after two years away.
The 30-year-old has spent the past two seasons with UAE Team Emirates but his return to the British squad is a poignant one given 2019 will be Sky’s 10th year in operation and Swift was one of their first signings for their first season.
Back then, Swift was a promising sprinter, but nearly a decade on he goes back as the experienced all-rounder, tasked with providing support both on and off the bike for Sky’s young riders.
“It’s a great feeling to be re-joining Team Sky,” said Swift, who has twice finished in the top 12 at the world championship road race and twice rode the Tour de France.
“Obviously I know the ins and outs of the team. I feel really comfortable here and it’s a place I’ve grown as a rider.
“There will be no teething problems and I’ll be straight back in. I’m hoping that it will feel like I’ve never been away.
“I’ve still got ambitions and aims for my own career, I feel I’ve also got the ability to put a bit back into the sport as a useful all-rounder for the team. I want to be someone who can do a job and take their opportunity when it comes around.
“But I’m also really looking forward to going in and working with the young guys a little bit too.
“There’s an incredibly talented crop of young riders coming through and I’ve got a lot of experience now that I can lend them.”
Swift left Team Sky at the end of 2016 because he wanted more opportunities on a smaller team.
He’s at that age now where he can start to pass some of his experience to the younger guys. We’ve invested a lot in some young guys and we need a few of the core older riders to pass their knowledge on and show them the Team Sky way. Ben will do that.Rod Eillingworth
He got that in his first year at UAE by riding the Tour de France during a season which peaked with a fifth-place finish at the world championships but his chances were limited in his second season.
For Sky, having an experienced British rider coming back to their team was an easy decision to make.
Ben’s not only a fine rider in his own right, but he’s also a superb role-model for the younger riders on the team to learn from, as we look to bring through the next generation at Team Sky,” said Sky’s performance manager Rod Ellingworth. “In performance terms, he sits right in the middle of the team and he’s such a great team player. His attitude and professionalism fits perfectly in our team. He’s easy to work, he sets high standards and that’s what we’re about.
“He’s at that age now where he can start to pass some of his experience to the younger guys. We’ve invested a lot in some young guys and we need a few of the core older riders to pass their knowledge on and show them the Team Sky way of racing. Ben will do that.”