Team Sky’s Ben Swift claimed the biggest win of his career with victory on the second stage of the Tour Down Under after a chaotic finish in Mannum.
The 23-year-old was well-placed to lead-out team-mate Chris Sutton when a crash four kilometres from the line brought down a host of sprinters, including HTC-Highroad’s Mark Cavendish.
And, with a second team-mate, Geraint Thomas, also hitting the deck, Swift seized his chance, sprinting home ahead of Radioshack’s Robbie McEwen and Rabobank’s Graeme Brown.
“We were right on the front in the final kilometre with Mathew Hayman leading the way, me in second and Geraint Thomas on my wheel, but I got the call from G with around 600m to go that Greg had dropped back and it would be me who was going for it,” said Swift.
“He hopped on Hayman’s wheel and I got on G’s and they took me right up until about 200m to go and then I just went for it. McEwen got a bit of a jump on me at first but that gave me something to run at and thankfully I was able to pull away at the end there.
“It’s the biggest win of my career, without a doubt, but it all It felt a bit unreal to be honest because our plan changed three times in the final four kilometres. Fortunately we were all able to think on our feet though and everything turned out brilliantly.”
Swift now lies third in the general classification, tied behind McEwen and stage one winner Matt Goss.
And, with Sutton and Greg Henderson now possibly taking a backseat after falls, the Yorkshireman faces the prospect of leading Team Sky in the GC.
“That would be a massive honour and I’d take it, for sure,” he added. “That said, I don’t mind dropping back and resuming my original lead-out role either. Whatever I have to do for the team, I’ll do it.”