Tour de Romandie

Swift's perfect Swiss timing

Evans protects yellow to take overall win

By Jonathan Turner   Last updated: 3rd May 2011

Ben Swift sprinted to his fourth victory of the season as Team Sky rounded off the Tour de Romandie in perfect style on Sunday.

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"The team was fantastic, everybody was there in the closing stages."

Ben Swift

The 23-year-old from Rotherham again got the better of former world champion Óscar Freire (Rabobank) in a bunch finish at the end of the fifth stage from Champagne to Geneva, with Davide Vigano (Leopard Trek) in third.

The triumph was the latest in a memorable season for Swift who took two stages at the Tour Down Under and one at Castilla y Leon.

And it came after excellent work from his teammates who were to the fore along with BMC Racing to make sure the field was together when it mattered, the last of the day's breaks being closed down with around five kilometres of the 164.6km stage remaining.

The Team Sky lead-out train controlled things from that point onwards and a big turn from Geraint Thomas inside the final kilometre teed things up to perfection. Chris Sutton then guided Swift to the head of affairs before the Yorkshireman powered to the line in triumph as first Vigano, who had been on his wheel, and then Freire were unable to overhaul him in the closing 200 metres.

The field sprint was also good news for Cadel Evans and his Swiss-based BMC team as it meant he sealed the overall win, easily protecting his 18 seconds advantage from Tony Martin (HTC-Highroad), with Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana) rounding off the podium.

Chris Froome was Team Sky's highest-placed rider in 15th, Dario Cioni, who was second in the sprint points standings, was 26th overall, Morris Possoni 43rd, Michael Barry 60th, Bradley Wiggins 62nd, Swift 67th, Thomas 88th and Sutton 112th.

Team effort

From a Team Sky perspective though it was all about Swift's stage win and he was quick to praise his teammates for all their work throughout the day, saying: "The team was fantastic; everybody was there in the closing stages.

"Dario, Morris and Michael were riding early to make sure it all came together and then Michael, Froomey, Wiggo, G and CJ did the last bits but it was a perfect team effort.

"We went round that last corner and I think there were still four or five guys on the front. It was going so fast and was a brilliant effort from everyone."

That point was underlined by Sports Director Sean Yates who told us: "Everyone was involved; it was perfect teamwork and a nice way to finish off the week.

"We knew Swifty was fast anyway but the other day [when he won the bunch sprint for fourth at the end of stage three] showed he was more than capable of getting a win here. The team pulled together and set out to give him 100% support and he's delivered the goods again."

Final day goes like clockwork

Looking back at the stage as a whole, Yates revealed things could hardly have worked out better. He explained: "It was quite a hectic day but the way it panned out with the first break having someone in it who was only two-and-a-half minutes down on the GC meant BMC couldn’t let it get too far ahead. It was the same with the next group – and it was perfect for us.

"Even down to having a tailwind on the fast run-in along Lake Geneva where we took control in that final 35k. We pulled the break back to 15 seconds and then just left them there for quite a while before catching them in the final 5k. There aren’t a massive amount of sprinter teams here so when we moved to the front we didn’t really get challenged. Michael took it up and then Bradley did a really long turn through the kilometre banner to about 800m before G put in a big effort and dropped off CJ and Swifty."

There was still work for Swift to do at that point as Yates acknowledged, adding: "In Swifty’s wheel was Vigano and on Vigano’s wheel was Freire. Swifty hit out from about the 250m-mark and you always fear that the guys are going to come off his wheel but they couldn’t get past him. It was a great win."

When asked about the youngster's four wins this season, Yates highlighted: "Swifty is the guy who can get over the climbs and sprint - that’s the key. They were two 7k climbs today and they were attacking left, right and centre with Movistar, RadioShack and AG2R all having a go but Ben can hold his own."

Swift himself was typically modest as he added: "It's all a bit surprising but I had the best winter's training I’ve ever had and it’s really paying off now. The Tour of California and the Tour de Suisse are next up for me and I’ll just keep trying to do the best I can."

User comments (10)

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Steve Howes says...

Nice one Ben, saw it on the box...hope you get that seat on Le tour...Bet Sandy and Mark are well chuffed...all the best.

Posted 12:51 4th May 2011

Chris Howe-jones says...

Well done Swifty! Honourable mention to the whole team but must single out G for a massive turn on the front in the last 800m. I'm convinced either he or CJ could have taken the win but sacrificed their chances for the guaranteed win from Ben. Perhaps Cav should take note of this lead out train?

Posted 10:10 3rd May 2011

Steve Ward says...

Another great win for Swifty. I think ben can only get quicker as he matures physically as well so the future certainly looks bright for the lad. He seems so level headed for his age and nothing seems to faze him. Beating a sprinter like Oscar Freire is never going to be easy, but Ben had his measure twice this week. Good luck in california Ben.

Posted 20:04 2nd May 2011

Peter Newmsn says...

My Congratulations to Ben and the Sky team, for me he is a man for the sprints in tour de France 2011 regard Peter Newman

Posted 11:49 2nd May 2011

Paul Verbinnen says...

Excellent result for the team and well deserved!

Posted 11:42 2nd May 2011

Sandy Wadey says...

perrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrfect well done sky train and Ben

Posted 10:09 2nd May 2011

Walter Cuello says...

EXPERIENCIA MAS JUVENTUD LA CONVINACION PERFECTA PARA EL EXITO, GRANDE EL SKY, FELICITACIONES, VAMOS POR MAS.

Posted 22:40 1st May 2011

James Carey says...

A pleasure to watch. The team looked like they were on a mission today and really delivered. Organization, power and talent. Well done Sky! A deserved victory.

Posted 21:35 1st May 2011

John Palmer says...

Well done the team! Good to see that the Tykes still know how to ride bikes, and with a Canadian Goose to work hard up front you all did a great job. Jp.

Posted 18:27 1st May 2011

Bev Smerklo says...

Huge congratulations to Ben and all of the team...a well desreved win.

Posted 15:14 1st May 2011

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