Swift tug-o-war continues as Sky name him in TDU squad
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Monday, December 07, 2009

Swift tug-o-war continues as Sky name him in TDU squad

by Ben Atkins at 1:55 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 

The battle for young British rider Ben Swift has taken another turn this week as Team Sky has named him in its seven-man team for January’s Santos Tour Down Under. So far there has been no reaction from his current Katusha team, who last week issued a statement to say that they expected the 22-year-old to remain with the team for 2010.

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

Team manager Andre Tchmil – the winner of the 1994 Paris-Roubaix, the 1999 Milano-Sanremo, and the 2000 Ronde van Vlaanderen – has been critical of what he sees as Team Sky’s aggressive recruitment policy. 

The new British team has publicly expressed a desire to sign Tour de France fourth place – and multiple Olympic champion – Bradley Wiggins as well as multiple Tour stage winner – and “fastest man on two-wheels” – Mark Cavendish.

Both Cavendish and Wiggins are tied in to contracts with Garmin-Transitions and Columbia-HTC for 2010 and Sky has thus far been unable to sign them. Swift is in a similar position, says Katusha.

Despite Tchmil’s protests it is still possible that Sky would be able to negotiate the transfer of Swift. It would be a similar situation to the way that Russian rider Alexandr Kolobnev managed to escape his contract with Saxo Bank a year early and sign for Katusha just two weeks ago.

Team Sky for the Santos Tour Down Under:
Chris Sutton (AUS)
Chris Froome (GBR)
Russell Downing (GBR)
Ben Swift (GBR)
Davide Viganò (ITA)
Mathew Hayman (AUS)
Greg Henderson (NZL)

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