Swift has high hopes for first Grand Tour stage win in Giro

Anston’s Ben Swift is hoping that Team Sky’s lack of a specialist general classification rider at the Giro d’Italia will lead to his first Grand Tour stage win.

The cycle ace is in Belfast on Friday for the start of the tour, which moves to Italy next week.

He was a late addition to Team Sky, who seem intent on picking up stage wins this time round.

Swift said: “I’m really happy (to be involved), it was a pretty late inclusion but it’s going to be an exciting race.”

“With the team we’ve got in the race, there’s no out-and-out GC rider, it’s just going to be a good racing team and there’ll be a lot of opportunities for myself and other guys in the team.”

“It’s perhaps one of the first times in Sky’s Grand Tour history that we’ve got a group focused purely on the stage wins.”

“My goal is to try and win a stage.”

“I’ll be happy if I’m up there if I’m up there and mixing it in close. but the biggest goal is to come away with a stage win.”

“I need to win a stage in a Grand Tour. I’ve gone close before so it would be nice to get one over the next three weeks.”

The first few months of 2014 have been kind to Swift, who was due some luck after a torrid time with a troublesome shoulder in 2013.

Speaking on his red hot form, the 26-year-old said: ““I had a good start in Mallorca, I got a little ill afterwards and had a little dip but it’s really coming good.”

“Tour of the Basque was a really good time, so hopefully now I can continue that upward trajectory.”

“The biggest thing is I’ve got my confidence back.”

“I know I can be competitive which bodes well going into the Giro with the team that we’ve got.”

It’s five years since he last rode in the Giro,and he’s delighted to be involved.

“I just love it, it’s a great race.”

“This year’s route seems to be well balanced for stage stage wins and for the GC riders, it doesn’t seem as brutal as past years, which is a relief.”