One day, one race, one result. It would be easy to view Connor Swift’s season in one dimension, but he’s racing to make a far more permanent statement.
Since winning the national championships, Swift’s excellent form has continued. First at the Wales Open Criterium, third at the Bristol GP and his latest result, second at the UCI 2.2-ranked Kreiz Breizh Elites.
The podium beckoned when the three-day, four-stage event took an unexpected direction. with the break on the first stage deciding the race.
Although he didn’t know it, Swift found himself in the right place at the right time, with the strength and tactical nous to take maximum advantage.
When the move went the race was very hard, but I didn’t want to be out front all day, only to be caught by the peloton in the last 20km.
So for the first 30-minutes I really did nothing. When the gap went out to two minutes I started riding through and then when we had six minutes we thought it might work out.
As soon as we heard that one of the teams behind were trying to bring it back, all of us in the lead really worked hard to try and keep the time gap the same and break their resolve.
Surprisingly, it worked and despite being in the national champion’s jersey, Swift had been allowed to go free. But why was that allowed to happen?
That’s what happens in these sorts of races. When people know that tomorrow is a hard day, nobody wants to chase. Maybe other teams are bluffing and that’s when it sticks.
It worked and when we got to the finish we had the gap, so there was time for a bit of cat and mouse.
I was going to attack just before the finish but someone else beat me to it and I ended up chasing. That cost me my effort to win the stage.Third on the opening day, Swift was also King of the Mountains and after some tireless work by his teammates, went into the fourth and final stage knowing he had the opportunity to win the race.
All the lads rode real strong for me on that last day. On the finishing circuits I went on a few attacks and caused the race leader to be on the back foot.
I needed to gap Damien Touze but he was a bit smaller and stronger on the climb and held me off. I don’t have any regrets though, I still think my best tactic was to ride aggressive and put him under pressure and hopefully get him to panic.
It’s good to show people that the nationals result wasn’t luck or whatever, getting second overall GC and third on a stage at Kreiz Breizh shows that I’m going quite well at the moment, but without the team I wouldn’t have been able to do it at all.
Connor’s next chance to show his form comes on August 5 at the Poly Normande – however he is tipping Matt Holmes for the day.
We go there with a strong team. I’ve been told it’s lumpy so it will be a hard race and that suits us.
We’ll continue to race how we’ve been racing, we’ve got a lot of confidence.
This is all in preparation for the Tour of Britain and the excitement is building. There’s not many races left now and I think everyone is mentally prepared, the physical side is coming along and it’s a race every Brit is anticipating and excited for.
After Yorkshire, we know a break could stick and we could be looking at contesting for stages or the overall.