Ben Swift to leave Team Sky after seven seasons - Road Cycling UK

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Ben Swift to leave Team Sky after seven seasons

Versatile British sprinter signs for new Chinese-backed Project TJ Sport

Versatile British sprinter Ben Swift, one of Team Sky’s founding riders, will leave the British WorldTour team after seven seasons to join Project TJ Sport in 2017.

Swift, 28, will join the new-look Lampre-Merida team, who have been bought out by Chinese investors, on a two-year deal in the winter.

Twice a Milan-San Remo podium finisher, including finishing runner-up at La Primavera earlier this season, Swift will join the likes of former world champion Rui Costa on the team.

Milan-San Remo runner-up Ben Swift will leave Team Sky to sign for the new Project TJ Sport (formerly Lampre-Merida) team in 2017 (pic: Sirotti)

He is the first ‘new’ rider – as opposed to existing Lampre-Merida riders – to sign for Project TJ Sport, where he will look to realise his ambition of winning Milan-San Remo.

Other sprinters already on the team include Marko Kump, Roberto Ferrari and Sacha Modolo but Swift says it’s the new team’s ambition which convinced him to sign a two-year deal.

“I look forward to starting a new chapter of my new career,” he said. “I believe it will allow me to develop further as a rider and hopefully enjoy more success in the seasons ahead.

“TJ Sports management demonstrated a great confidence in my qualities and I was immediately fascinated by their project.”

Swift’s move will end seven years with Team Sky – having joined the British WorldTour team at their inception in 2010 (pic: Sirotti)

TJ Sports only announced their intention to buy out the Lampre-Merida team in August, where previously it had appeared likely the team would be making way for the new Bahrain-Merida outfit.

The capture of Swift will also help to ensure the team remains on the WorldTour next season, thanks to the WorldTour points he accrued with his Milan-San Remo podium place.

Swift is the first British rider since Max Sciandri to sign for the various iterations of the former Lampre team.

However, it brings to an end a seven-year career with Team Sky – who he joined at their outset following a single season with Katusha.

It means of the eight British riders signed to Team Sky during their debut year, only Chris Froome, Geraint Thomas, Peter Kennaugh and Ian Stannard remain.

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