Ben Swift and Simon Yates eyeing Giro d’Italia glory

For two men separated by the rolling hills of the Pennines, the Giro d’Italia that gets underway in Hungary today represents different opportunities.

For Ben Swift, the 34-year-old reigning national champion from Rotherham, it is a chance to continue shaping the twilight of his career, one he began as a sprinter but which has evolved with age into jack-of-all-trades for powerful British squad Ineos Grenadiers.

Swift makes an eighth appearance in a Grand Tour having helped Tao Geoghegan Hart win the Giro two years ago.

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On this occasion he rides in support of Richard Carapaz, the champion from a year earlier.

Ben Swift of INEOS Grenadiers celebrates winning the British road race championships in front of Lincoln Cathedral. (Picture: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com)

“Richard’s a great leader,” said Swift. “He’s a very focussed, driven guy, but he’s a great guy on the training camps too.

“But if stuff goes wrong, we’re all in good enough shape to go for our own opportunities.”

For Simon Yates of Bury, the Giro is another chance to claim overall victory in a race he has come close to before, notably in 2018 when he wore the race leader’s pink jersey before losing it in dramatic fashion to Chris Froome on the 19th stage.

The 29-year-old Lancastrian said: “There are many things that keep bringing me back. It’s just a race I enjoy racing. I really enjoy the atmosphere in the team when we all come together and try to win the Giro. It’s a race that suits me with lots of climbing.”

Simon YATES (TEAM BIKEEXCHANGE-JAYCO) in action in the Paris Nice 2022 race (Picture: ASO/Alex Broadway)