Swift warns world to be­ware ‘dan­ger­ous’ GB

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Cycling - By Tom Cary CY­CLING COR­RE­SPON­DENT

Ben Swift is adamant that Great Bri­tain’s nine-man team for next week’s men’s elite world road race in Nor­way will not be there sim­ply to make up the num­bers, say­ing they have a num­ber of “dan­ger­ous rid­ers” who could com­pete for medals.

He did add, though, that he was “sur­prised” by the omis­sion of na­tional cham­pion Steve Cum­mings from the line-up for Ber­gen. Bri­tain’s hopes of suc­cess have been badly hit by the shoul­der frac­ture sus­tained by 2011 world cham­pion Mark Cavendish at the Tour de France in July, which forced him to with­draw from con­sid­er­a­tion last week.

Lizzie Deignan, mean­while, un­til last month one of the favourites for the women’s race, had her ap­pen­dix re­moved a few weeks ago and her form is un­cer­tain.

The in­di­vid­ual time tri­als may well pro­vide a bet­ter op­por­tu­nity. Chris Froome will hope to round off an im­pres­sive sea­son by chal­leng­ing Dutch­man Tom Du­moulin for gold, while Eli­nor Barker, Olympic cham­pion in the team pur­suit, is a dark horse.

Swift, though, in­sists there is still the po­ten­tial for GB to do some­thing in the men’s road race. “We’ve got dan­ger­ous guys,” he said. “Pete [Ken­naugh] can an­i­mate a race in the fi­nal and the Ber­gen course re­ally suits him. [Ian] Stan­nard if he’s in the mood. Me for the fi­nal if it does come to that sce­nario.”

Swift ad­mit­ted that he found Cum­mings’s ex­clu­sion odd, given Cavendish’s ab­sence. “I was a bit sur­prised,” he said. “He’s the na­tional cham­pion. It’s not like we have got an out-and­out leader.”

But he said GB still had a num­ber of cards to play and that the team’s in­ex­pe­ri­ence and lack of a clear leader would help them fly un­der the radar. Ian Stan­nard is the only one over 30, while only Stan­nard and Swift have rid­den in more than one world cham­pi­onship.

“I guess that one strength of our team is that we’re not just go­ing to ride on the front for one per­son,” he said. “We can cover moves and then maybe put an op­tion at the fi­nal. We’re ex­cited.”

The course has been de­signed to suit Nor­we­gians Ed­vald Boas­son Ha­gen and Alexander Kristoff. Then there is Peter Sagan (Slo­vakia,) chas­ing a hat-trick of ti­tles. “From speak­ing with Eddy [Boas­son-ha­gen], I think it’s a bit harder than peo­ple think,” said Swift. “And then you’ve got the weather. [If it’s bad ]that kind of suits me and Stan­nard.”

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