British sprinter Ben Swift aiming for maiden win in the Giro d'Italia, starting with Tuesday's stage
“I nearly won and finished second to Marcel Kittel, that was good but frustrating at the same time,” Swift told Cycling Weekly. “I aimed to try in some of the flat sprints to start off and go for the lumpier stages later, so there are plenty of chances left.”
The Giro’s peloton will race 173 kilometres today from Modena to Salsomaggiore Terme, an area that earthquakes two years ago wrecked. The stage is flat without one categorised climb to stop the sprinters.
His departure has levelled the playing field. So far, Frenchman Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ.fr) appears the strongest with two stage wins. The first one he took in Bari came when Swift crashed on the wet roads. Swift also crashed, again on a wet road, with a group of 60 riders two days later at the foot of the Montecassino climb.
“I just hurt my hip when I slid into the curve. I cut my right side, and slid into it with my left side,” Swift said. “It took a couple of days to get over it. It was a bit of a shame because the next day was a sprint day.”
Only his hand bothers him now. Swift explained that it bothers him sometimes when he puts pressure on it while holding the handlebars.
Besides today’s stage, Swift should have other chances: tomorrow’s 11th stage to Savona, stage 13 to Rivarolo Carnavese, stage 17 to Vittorio Veneto and the final day, stage 21 to Trieste.
If he won, it would be his first Grand Tour stage win and successfully mark his comeback to grand tours. Last year, he suffered with injuries, including a broken shoulder. His last grand tour was the 2012 Vuelta a España.
“Being in a grand tour gives me a lot of strength and sets me up for the rest of the season, as well. I hope that after this I’ll continue well to the nationals.”