Swift fourth in Brindisi sprint

09 Oct 2020

Swift fourth in Brindisi sprint

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Giro d'Italia stage seven: Matera › Brindisi, 143km

Ben Swift sprinted to an impressive fourth place at the end of a tumultuous seventh stage of the Giro d’Italia, won by Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ).

Swift was pipped to third on the line following a well-timed sprint after battling for position in the final of a stage punctuated by crosswinds and crashes.

Filippo Ganna was caught behind one of the many incidents with 45 kilometres remaining,  but finished safely in the bunch and retains the maglia azzurra.

The incident-packed stage started with the peloton splitting into several groups within the opening 10 kilometres as several teams pushed the pace on the front of the bunch. The INEOS Grenadiers were unfortunately caught behind the front group, but worked hard to close the gap and the race came back together. 

With a number of crashes throughout the day, the Grenadiers were fortunate to avoid any incidents until Ganna was caught behind a large crash with 45 kilometres remaining. 

Joined by Jonathan Castroviejo, the pair were part of a larger chase group that managed to re-join the peloton just before the final run-in to Brindisi. 

Rohan Dennis and Salvatore Puccio all put in admirable shifts on the front of the bunch towards the end of the stage to retain a strong position for Swift and Tao Geoghegan Hart, and Swift was well-placed to be able to contest the final sprint, edged into fourth on the line as Demare was victorious.

Ben Swift:

It was a really fast day. We knew it was going to be stressful and everybody knew the danger the wind could cause today.

"We missed the first split but because we were all together we knew we would come back. It gave us a bit of work to do but we were never in any danger. We came back and it was all about trying to have as easy as day as possible until the finale.

"I wasn’t planning on doing the big bunch sprints here, we’re looking after Tao and I was riding in the wind, keeping him in position, and that’s how I ended up where I did at the end - I was trying to look after him and get him to the front because we knew it was going to be stressful.

"So I found myself in a good place and thought, you know what, I’ll have a go - I feel quite good. If I’d have had that mindset a bit more, I might have fought a little more in the final, but the opportunity just presented itself.

"Unfortunately when the sprint opened, Gaviria sat up and let the wheel go so we had to come from quite far behind but I’m personally looking ahead to the harder stages, so to sprint like that on a flat day was quite encouraging."