NEXT weekend’s Track World Cup in London will be a crucial event for Ben Swift’s 2012 Olympic hopes.
The Anston cyclist is targeting a big performance for Great Britain, as part of a 16-man squad bound for the Olympic Velodrome.
The 24-year-old, fresh from an endurance training camp in Majorca, explained in his personal blog how important the World Cup was to his ambitions for the year: “I’ve got top step things up again and hopefully get myself into that final four for the team pursuit.”
“The London event is a big target for us as a nation, and obviously for me personally, because if it all goes well there then that should hopefully put me in a good position for the World Championships at the start of April, and then one step closer to the Olympics in the summer.”
“There is a bit of a pressure there at the same time though, because if things fall on their face in London then I’ll have to make some big decisions about what I’m going to do moving forwards.”
“That’s all for the future though and all I can do now is work hard to give myself the best possible chance.”
While the GB cyclists are all working together as a team, Swift admits there’s a competitive edge among the squad.
“Everyone in the team pursuit squad is excited about the next few weeks and the mood in the camp is really positive,” he said.
“We all feel like we’re on a big adventure together even though at the end of the day we’re all competing against each other to get into that final four.”
“We’re all helping each other out as much as possible but in the back of our heads we obviously want the best for ourselves as well. I think that’s a good thing though because that competition can only make the final team stronger.”
“The worst situation would be that there were four guys nailed on for selection because they would get complacent and the others would get dispirited.”
“We’re all pushing each other hard and we all know that if one guy comes down with illness or injury there’s another super-strong guy waiting to replace him.”
Swift, who took five stage victories around the world in 2011, believes he’s firmly in contention with the rest of the country’s top cyclists.
He added: “Fingers crossed, things are looking good. In the boot camp before Christmas I was worried I might not be up there with the rest of the guys and that I might be wasting my time, but I’d like to think I’m right up there now and I’m really happy about that.”
This month Swift, who is yet to ride in the new Olympic Velodrome, was also scheduled to fly to Italy for the Giro di Sardinia, but that event has been cancelled.
l FOR an interview with Swift’s family on what it’s like to live with a cycling star, see page seven of this week’s Dinnington Guardian.