Milan-San Remo 2014: Ben Swift admits it was a 'really great feeling' to finish third
Last Updated: 23/03/14 6:53pm
Ben Swift admitted it was a “really great feeling” to finish on the podium at Milan-San Remo.
The Team Sky rider took third place behind winner Alexander Kristoff and runner-up Fabian Cancellara in the first Monument of the season.
The 26-year-old Briton spent much of the race safely hidden in the peloton, but surged to the front of the field on the final two climbs of the day, the Cipressa and the Poggio, and then followed that up with a strong performance in a bunch sprint to the line.
Swift has always felt the 294km Classic suits his style and was delighted to realise his potential.
He told teamsky.com: "It’s the race that I have looked at in the past and dreamed about over the years. It’s the one big race where I could see myself getting a result because normally that sort of terrain is where I would have pretty good legs. So to go there and do that today was a really great feeling.”
Swift was fourth in the front group heading up the Poggio, which begins 9km from the line, and maintained that position on the descent down the other side.
The group bunched back together on the flat run to the finish line, and Swift could have fared better than third had he not be squeezed into the barriers by Cancellara in the sprint.
He added: “The plan was to keep out of sight a little bit but to be at the front for the final climbs. I came around and got into a really good position at the bottom of the Cipressa and that helped a lot.
"Heading into the finish, I was just looking to stay safe down the Poggio and stay in contact with the front guys. I knew that you needed good position down there to make it as easy as possible. I didn’t really know how many people were in the group or not but I just tried to stay as far forward as I could.
Cav falls short
“It turned into a bit of a track race once we got into that final 3km. There were always guys willing to put moves in and then once it came to the sprint it was just about trying to pick the right wheel. I got boxed in a little bit but luckily I managed to find a way out."
There were two Britons in the top five after Mark Cavendish claimed fifth. The Manxman was distanced at the top of the Poggio and although he managed to regain contact, he ran out of energy in the sprint finish.
He said: “I felt incredible all day. I launched early in my sprint, but I don’t think I had any other option. When [Sacha] Modolo went, my only other option was to go then. It was too early, but I don’t think I had much choice.
"I think maybe in other conditions, where I wasn’t so cold, I would maybe have a little bit left and could have stayed longer. But I decided to sprint and my legs just stopped. I sat down and my legs just didn’t go anymore."