Swift has been at the centre of a running story – battle, perhaps – concerning which team he will be riding for in 2010. Signed to the Russian Katusha team for 2009, Swift had a year remaining on his contract – until the end of the 2010 season.
However, both Swift and Sky had aired interest in the young Tour of Britain stage winner joining the new UK-based outfit.
Katusha team manager Andrei Tchmil stated that Swift must see out his contract, and would not be moving next year. This was countered last week by a statement from Swift’s agent Paul De Geyter saying that Swift had a get-out clause in his contract, leaving the way clear for him to join Sky for 2010.
Team Sky principal David Brailsford has been under fire for pursuing Swift for the squad, but according to the Press Association Brailsford has dismissed that the team had been underhand.
“It was planning ahead,” said Brailsford. “The information we’ve received is that Ben had resigned and terminated his contract and become a free agent – that’s what we were led to believe.
“We just acted in good faith.”
Team Sky’s seven-man Tour Down Under team is named as:
Christopher Sutton (AUS)
Christopher Froome (GBR)
Russell Downing (GBR)
Benjamin Swift (GBR)
Davide Vigano (ITA)
Mathew Hayman (AUS)
Gregory Henderson (NZL)
The Tour Down Under is the opening event in the UCI ProTour calendar, and takes place in Adelaide, South Australia, from January 19-24, 2010.
Swift out riding last week – still firmly in Katusha colours