Team Sky’s Ben Swift is settling into his role in the lead-out train at the Tour Down Under. The first stage to Angaston, Australia, today was complicated and proved Swift will have some challenges ahead.
“It was crazy,” said Swift in the heat of the finish line, just 80 kilometres north of Adelaide.
Swift followed Sky team-mate Geraint Thomas and worked to position Chris ‘CJ’ Sutton. Sutton ended the day fourth behind Matt Goss (HTC-Highroad) and André Greipel (Omega Pharma-Lotto) and Robbie McEwen (RadioShack).
“I lost Geraint’s wheel on a little downhill,” added Swift. “I continued to try to take CJ up the left and got him to Greipel, but it is just annoying when you got a plan and it doesn’t quite happen because of something like that. That’s bike racing, but it is just annoying really.”
Last year, Australian Sutton won the final stage of the race and New Zealander team-mate, Greg Henderson won the pre-race criterium. Henderson crashed this year and suffered today.
“I am bruised and sore from that crash, so we were trying to swap around the roles to set up CJ. We were all lined up, but we all lost each other with about 1K to go,” said Henderson.
“I didn’t see Swifty, I think he got lost! He lost Geraint’s wheel and we all lost each other, that was it. It was just one of those unfortunate things. We have to be patient to wait for the final kilometres, but being patient you risk getting swamped by the other teams.”
Swift and Thomas will be able to perfect their lead out for Henderson and Sutton over the next stages, the race ends on Sunday. They had a perfect lead out for Henderson the criterium on Sunday night, only to be derailed when Henderson crashed.
The British duo return to Manchester for the track World Cup after the Tour Down Under, as they both look to re-establish themselves in the team pursuit squad. They continue with the Great Britain team, racing on the road at the Tour of Sardinia (February 22 – 26).
Tour Down Under 2011: Related links
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Tour Down Under 2011: Start list
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Tour Down Under 2011: Stage reports
Stage one: Goss takes TdU opener
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