A strong start to the season, capped by third at Milan-San Remo and a stage win on a tough route at the Tour of the Basque Country, allowed Ben Swift to prove that he had recovered from the injuries which beset his 2013 campaign.
Has the Yorkshireman earned a shot at taking the start line in his home county next month? Edvald Boasson Hagen’s Achilles injury makes Swift the team’s only available sprinter. But will Sir Dave Brailsford judge a fast man surplus to requirements for Tour duties?
Sadly, the answer to that may be a no. Froome’s GC bid will take priority over the fairytale story of Swift competing for a stage win in Harrogate and, furthermore, the 26-year-old has not won a race since his Basque Country stage win.
Second behind Marcel Kittel on stage three of the Giro was again encouraging, but his challenge faded as the three weeks went on and he did not come close again.
Meanwhile, in Switzerland, he was fifth on stage two – second in the bunch kick behind Peter Sagan (Cannondale) – and put in a great ride over the climbs in stage six but did not have the legs left for the sprint.
His fourth place was an opportunity lost, particularly after the work Sky put in to set it up.
However, with Henao injured and Hagen out of form, if Sky do fill their ninth space with stage wins in mind, perhaps there is hope yet for the Yorkshire sprinter.