Swift likely to move to Sky, Yates on board, Wiggins to stay put?
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Friday, November 20, 2009

Swift likely to move to Sky, Yates on board, Wiggins to stay put?

by Conal Andrews at 7:28 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 

The prospects of Bradley Wiggins moving to Team Sky for 2010 appeared all but finished yesterday with the news that Alberto Contador intends staying with the Astana team next season. However the new British squad is strongly rumoured to have signed Ben Swift, a promising 22 year old who won stage seven of the Tour of Britain and placed third on a stage in the Giro d’Italia.

The young Briton showed his ability in 2007 when he was part of the winning team pursuit squad at the European championships. Later that year he had a trial with the Barloworld team and won the King of the Mountains prize at the Tour of Britain, then last season, he nabbed several strong results including fourth place in the world under 23 road race championships.

These performances led on to a two year deal with the Russian Katusha team. A spokesman from that set-up denied yesterday that it intended releasing him, although he admitted to the Guardian newspaper that it was aware of the rumours and had sought clarification from the UCI on the matter.

“For us, at this moment, Swift is a Katusha rider,” he stated. However VeloNation understands that there is a very strong chance he will line out in Sky colours next year.

Wiggins is also in the middle of a two year deal but Garmin Slipstream have said repeatedly that he will not be able to break that contract. Most observers of the sport felt that the Briton, who finished fourth in this year’s Tour, would be allowed move if Garmin Slipstream secured an agreement with Contador.

However unless the Astana team is refused a ProTour licence, the Spaniard will now stay put. So too, it seems, will Wiggins.

Meanwhile the Sky team today confirmed that Sean Yates will work as one of the sporting directors next year. The 49 year old Englishman had a 14 year pro career, riding twelve Tours, winning a stage and wearing the yellow jersey. Since his retirement he’s worked with Team CSC, Discovery Channel and Astana.

“Sean brings a wealth of experience and we’ve been very keen for a long time to bring him on board,” said team principal Dave Brailsford. “He’s well known as a hard-working sports director with a deep understanding of the sport and good connection to his riders and staff. He will be a true asset to our management team and a great colleague for the other Sports Directors we have signed.

Yates is enthusiastic about the new role. “I’m extremely excited to join Team Sky. Obviously for me, to be part of a British team at the highest level is something truly special. I have a lot of experience in a winning team and I look forward to helping Team Sky to fulfil its goals. The scope and the ambition of the project is unique and I think we have put together a great team. I really believe we can be contenders on all levels in the future and I’m proud to become part of that.”
 

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