Second for Swift in Germany

Ben Swift - Tour of Britain stage 8a time trial
Ben Swift - Tour of Britain stage 8a time trial
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Anston’s Ben Swift came agonisingly close to his first stage win since returning to cycling from injury, in Germany this week.

The Team Sky sprinter was just pipped by Alex Rasmussen in Wednesday’s Bayern-Rundfahrt opening stage, taking second spot.

Swift was in action in the Tour of Norway last week, helping team-mate Edvald Boasson Hagen to victory, after almost four months out of action with a knee injury.

And the 25-year-old appears to be back to his racing best, competing at the front after over 190km on Wednesday.

Team Sky’s race coach Kurt-Asle Arvesen was pleased to see Swift in the thick of it at the end of the stage.

He said: “We controlled the race from beginning to end today and I’m really happy with how everyone performed.”

“It’s just unfortunate (Swift) came up a little bit short and Rasmussen jumped out of his wheel to take the win.”

“Ben hasn’t sprinted in a while though and he will have definitely learned from the experience. It’s great to see him back battling it out in the sprints and it all looks good for the future.”

Thurcroft’s Russ Downing is also in action in Germany, riding for Team NetApp-Endura, and he finished 54th in the first stage from Pfaffenhofen to Muhldorf.

The duo were set for stage two, a 194.5km ride from Muhldorf to Viechtach, on Thursday.

Friday’s stage is from Viechtach to Kelheim, another 196.8km, Saturday brings a 31.2km time trial and the final stage is on Sunday, ending in Nurnberg after a 169.8km ride.

Dean Downing celebrated second place in round three of The Pearl Izumi Tour Series in Stoke this week.

Riding for Madison Genesis the Thurcroft professional took seventh in round one at Kircaldy.

His team sit third in the overall standings on 24 points.

In a busy week of racing, the older Downing brother will ride in round four at Aberystwyth on Friday, before the Aberystwyth Sportive with his team-mates and sponsors on Saturday.

Tuesday brings round five of the series in Torquay and round six follows on Thursday in Colchester.