British Cycling?s Olympic Academy showed they are one of the strongest teams in men?s under 23 cycling with a good team performance in the La Cote Picardie in northern France on Wednesday (April 18), the second round of the new men?s under 23 series for national teams.

Ben Swift was part of the ten-rider decisive break that formed 40km from the end of the 179km race, and eventually finished seventh after being in a late attack that was caught just two kilometres from the finish. The race was won by Slovenia’s Simon Spilak, who attacked on the final climb and finished 11 seconds ahead of Korea’s Hyun Wook Joo and Kristoffer Nielsen of Denmark.

Ian Stannard finished 20th, 51 seconds behind, after missing the move and the two-rider counter attack that included Spilak. Andy Tennant was 43rd , also at 51 seconds after a crash and a bike change disrupted his race.

?We?d hoped to get a result with someone in the top ten and we achieved that, but the result could have been even better,? Academy coach Rod Ellingworth told cyclingweekly.co.uk.

?The course was fairly flat but we took control of the race when we moved from main roads to country lanes after 90km. The three first year riders in the team [Steven Burke, Jonny Bellis and Russell Hampton] went on the front and brought a break back, and then we were trying to get two riders in each move. Ben went with seven other riders at about 40km to go, and then two more got across and were never seen again.?

?The Slovenian rider got away and won it, while Ben got in a move with three other riders on the last little hill. They almost made it but were caught by the rest of the break two kilometres from the finish, and then Ben just did as well as he could in the sprint, despite being pretty tired.?

?It?s pity Ian Stannard missed the break because he is on form and could have done well. However there were 25 of the leading nations in the race and we again showed we can race at the highest standard.?

The riders return to their Italian base on Thursday to begin their final training for the Giro della Liberazione in the centre of Rome on April 25, and then the tough Giro delle Regioni stage race in Italy, between April 26 and May 1.

RESULTS: LA COTE PICARDIE

1 Simon Spilak (Slo) 4.03.30
2 Hyun Wook Joo (Kor) 0.11
3 Kristoffer Nielsen (Den)
4 Biel Kadri (Fra)
5 Benat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa)
6 Kristjan Koren (Slo)
7 Ben Swift (GBr) 0.13
8 Rik Fransen (Ned) 0.17
9 Mateusz Komar (Pol)
10 Romain Villa (Fra)

Other British riders:

20 Ian Stannard (GBr) at 51 secs
43 Andrew Tennant (GBr)
105 Jonathan Bellis (GBr) at 1-25
DNF Steven Burke (GBr)
DNF Russel Hampton (GBr)