Rebounding from an injury-hit 2013 season, Ben Swift will look to place his name firmly back in the win column in 2014.
One of Britain’s top sprinting talents, Swift has enjoyed the winning feeling ever since he took his first pro stage victory at the 2009 Tour of Britain. Since that debut season the Yorkshireman has continued to progress as a rider, and after joining Team Sky in 2010 he wrapped up the squad’s first overall victory at the Tour de Picardie before completing his maiden Tour de France in 2011.
‘Swifty’ has shown the speed to win at the highest level – putting together a string of WorldTour victories that mark him out as one to watch every time the race ends in a bunch kick. He has also shone on the track and added the world scratch race title to his glowing palmares in 2012.
Q & A
Who inspired you to start cycling?I'm from a cycling family so I'd say my dad.
First bike:A blue and yellow David Marsh, made to measure, with downtube shifters and cable levers.
First cycling club:B.A.T.S All Terrain
Childhood hero:Oscar Freire, Robbie McEwen and Paulo Bettini. I try to model my riding on them.
What do you love most about cycling?It's my passion and although it's my job, I still really enjoy it. I feel so lucky to be able to do this because it's all I ever wanted to do.
What has cycling taught you?It's who I am. I've always loved it and I'll always be on my bike.
Previous teams:2009 Katusha
Favourite race:The Classics. The atmosphere is unbelievable. It's the same with the World Championships.
Favourite ride:Leading the peloton onto the Champs Elysees at my first Tour de France. I was able to soak up the atmosphere and it was a big achievement to finish the race.
If you weren't a rider, what would you be?Not a clue. I've never thought about it.
Interests away from cycling:I've got a Land Rover which I like taking off-road.
Favourite film:The Hangover
Favourite music:I like a wide variety of music.
Best friend in the peloton:I have a lot of friends but spend most time with Adam Blythe.
Funniest team-mate:Geraint and Bradley are both very funny.
Favourite food:Ice cream
Most famous person you've met:Eddy Merckx
Most embarrassing moment:When I used to ride as a teenager with my name on the back of my shorts, fake-tanned legs and long overshoes.
Interesting fact:I can ride a unicycle
Best advice:Be prepared to work hard and make sure you enjoy riding your bike.
European Under-23 Track Championships - Gold medal, team pursuit; Giro delle Regioni - 1st mountains classification, 1st stage six; Tour of Britain - 1st mountains classification
Coppa della Pace - 1st; GP Coppa Romita - 1st; Giro della Valle d'Aosta Mont Blanc - 1st stage five
Tour of Britain - 1st stage seven; Giro d'Italia - 3rd stage two
Tour de Picardie - 1st overall, 1st points classification, 1st young rider classification, 1st stage two
Tour Down Under - 3rd overall and two stage wins; Tour of California - 1st stage two; Tour de Romandie - 1st stage five; Vuelta a Castilla y Leon - 1st stage five
World Track Championships - 1st scratch race; Tour de Pologne - two stage wins and 1st points classification