Intermediate Giro sprint win bodes well for Team Sky’s Ben Swift

Ben Swift’s intermediate sprint victory on Thursday in the Giro d’Italia will fill him with confidence for the rest of the tour.

That was the view of Team Sky’s sports director Dario Cioni, as Anston cyclist Swift moved into fifth place in the points standings ahead of Friday’s stage six.

He said: “We spoke before the start about getting Swifty in the break, and he managed to do that in order to go for those intermediate sprint points.”

“Beating guys like Viviani and Farrar will have been good for Ben’s confidence and that’ll bode well for the sprints to come.”

It’s been a dramatic week for Swift, who came agonisingly close to his first ever Grand Tour stage victory in Dublin on Sunday.

He looked odds on to cross the line first, but was beaten by the length of a wheel by German sprinting ace Marcel Kittel – who has now retired from the tour due to illness.

Swift said he had mixed feelings, given the calibre of the cyclist he was up against.

“It couldn’t have been any closer really. I’m not sure what you have to do to beat Marcel Kittel. He wins even when he gives you a head start,” he said.

“I’m disappointed to come so close and not get the win, especially with it being in Dublin after the reception that we have had in Northern Ireland and Ireland.”

“But, having said that, to come second behind Kittel, you have to be happy with that.”

“I was just hoping to get in the mix in a sprint finish, so to be challenging for the win was a good outcome.”

On stage four Swift crashed out in the final two kilometres on a slick corner, and was then part of the day’s main breakaway in Thursday’s stage five.