Rotherham sprinter Ben Swift follows podium spot in Milan-San Remo with win in Italian stage race

Ben Swift (Team Sky) has continued his return to top form, winning the opening stage of the Settimana Coppi e Bartali race in Gatteo, Italy, on Thursday morning.

Swift took the victory ahead of Manuele Mori (Lampre-Merida) and Damiano Caruso (Cannondale). Sky’s Peter Kennaugh placed eighth.

Swift’s victory comes less than a week after he propelled himself to third place in Milan-San Remo; a stark contrast to his injury-blighted 2013 season which saw him come away with no major results.

Swift will take the race lead into this afternoon’s 13.3km team time trial alongside Sky team-mates Ian Boswell, Dario Cataldo, Philip Deignan, Joe Dombrowski, Sebastian Henao and Peter Kennaugh.

The UCI 2.1-ranked Settimana Coppi e Bartali concludes on Sunday, March 30.

Result
Settimana Coppi e Bartali 2014, stage 1a: Gatteo to Gatteo, 99.5km
1. Ben Swift (GBr) Team Sky

2. Manuele Mori (Lampre-Merida)
3. Damiano Caruso (Cannondale)
4. Thomas Sprengers (Topsport Vlaanderen)
5. Alberto Cecchin (Marchiol Emisfero)
6. Andrea Pasqualon (Area Zero)
7. Enrico Barbin (Bardiani CSF)
8. Peter Kennaugh (Team Sky)
9. Fabio Taborre (Neri Sottoli)
10. Matteo Busato (Mg Kvis-Trevigiani)

Overall classification after stage 1a
1. Ben Swift (GBr) Team Sky