Rotherham pro cyclist Ben Swift was celebrating the end of an exhilarating Giro d’Italia having played a part in seeing teammate, Tao Geoghegan Hart, win the overall race.
Along with the Tour de France and Vuelta a España, “the Giro” is one of cycling’s prestigious three-week-long Grand Tours.
It was a tough start for Swift, who races for the Ineos Grenadiers pro team, with the Anston lad involved in a crash on the fourth stage back at the start of October.
Swift battled back into the peloton and was able to recover during the stage, finishing in a chase group behind the main bunch.
Swift said: “Not the best of days. I had a crash with an awkward landing gave me a lot of pain through the stage. I managed to get through best I could.”
Battling back from injury is very much in Swift’s wheelhouse and he was quickly involved at the head of the field.
At Brindisi, Swift sprinted to an impressive fourth place at the end of a tumultuous seventh stage. He was pipped to third on the line following a well-timed sprint after battling for position in the final of a stage punctuated by crosswinds and crashes.
At the finish, Swift, who is the British champion, said: “I found myself in a good place and thought, you know what, I’ll have a go – I feel quite good. If I’d have had that mindset a bit more, I might have fought a little more in the final, but the opportunity just presented itself.”
With Gerraint Thomas out of the race injured early on, the job for the Ineos teammates was to protect main man, Tao Geoghegan Hart but Swift again seized an opportunity on a tough stage ten, sprinting home in the pouring rain for another fourth place.
At Rimini, the team delivered Swift to the final sprint, and he finished 18th on the stage, with Geoghegan Hart finishing safely behind.
As Geoghegan Hart moved to the top of the general classification, another highlight for Swift was a well-earned fifth on stage 15, battling it out with elite climbers before contesting the sprint for third on the uphill drag to the line.
The team had laid the foundations for an epic showdown at the end of the tour and Tao Geoghegan Hart rode a perfect final stage to take overall victory at the Giro d’Italia.
Images: Ineos Grenadiers