Swift will stay with us, says Katusha
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Monday, November 30, 2009

Swift will stay with us, says Katusha

by Ben Atkins at 12:54 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling

The latest plot twist in a season of rider transfer soap operas means that British rider Ben Swift will not be moving to Team Sky but staying at his current Katusha team, according to a strongly worded press release. Swift has expressed a preference to move to the new British team, but the Russians currently have no intention of releasing him.

“Concerning rumours about Ben Swift moving to another team,” said the team’s press release, “Katusha declares that the English rider has signed a regular UCI contract until the end of 2010 season and that it will be respected.”

Swift, who turned just 22 earlier this month, is seen as one of the most exciting British talents at the moment. After several good results and podium positions this season he picked up a prestigious victory in stage 7 of the Tour of Britain in September. He also has roots on the track and is a member of Great Britain’s World beating pursuit team, taking a victory in October’s World Cup event in Manchester.

Naturally, all this makes him an obvious target for the new Sky team, and it seems that he is keen to make the move himself. He was recently summoned to a meeting in Italy, which was probably deliberately timed to prevent him attending a Sky get together, but he failed to show up.

Earlier this month Katusha team manager Andre Tchmil expressed displeasure at what he saw as Sky’s attempt to woo one of his most promising young riders: "I think it's very bad that a new team like Sky goes around thinking they can buy up riders who are under contract,” he said. “It's something we never did last year out of a matter of principle. Contracts exist because they have to be respected."

Katusha recently signed Russian Alexandr Kolobnev after he managed to release himself from his contract with Saxo Bank. Despite this, the team seems resolved to prevent similar things happening with its riders.


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