Ben Swift eyes Rio Olympic omnium spot

Ben Swift eyes Rio Olympic omnium spot

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Britain’s Ben Swift has outlined his Olympic omnium ambitions for Rio 2016, confirming that the road race is likely too hilly for his characteristics.

However, before Swift lines up at the Rio velodrome he must reconcile road commitments with Team Sky, determine a schedule of qualification events and his dynamic alongside the existing British Cycling endurance squad.

Speaking from Majorca, the 27-year-old said he would soon meet with Heiko Salzwedel – British Cycling’s men’s endurance coach – to discuss what he acknowledges is his only opportunity to compete for an Olympic medal in 2016.

Already distancing himself from joining the team pursuit line-up, Swift expected the first discussions to centre on how he would integrate with the team.

“I need to look into it with the British Cycling management and coaches because of how dominant we have been in the team pursuit in the past” Swift, scratch race world champion on the track in 2012, explained.

“I don’t really want to go down the route of committing to a full-time track programme and it’s how riding the omnium would affect that.”

Undeterred, Swift recently took part in his first omnium since February 2012, travelling to Portugal last month and finishing fourth.

Part of that confidence to race came from changes to the omnium format which, Swift believes, has given him a far better opportunity of success.

“The old format was very much around the timed disciplines so you could never really make up for a bad event” he recalled.

“Whereas now finishing with the points race makes it a lot more of a racers’ race, which makes it a lot more appealing.”

With the road season fast approaching, Swift admits that his immediate focus is improving upon results like third in Milan-San Remo, but once there is a gap in his schedule, he will look to return to the track.

“My full focus for the moment is back on the road, but you’re always planning the next few weeks and months ahead at the same time.

“The first step was to get the experience of the new omnium format, to get some points on the board and the next step is to do another omnium with a lot more fitness, to be able to race it at 100% and go from there.

“Obviously the later into the season it is, the fitter I am going to be. I would like to treat an event like that like a mini target in itself.

“Beyond that, the world championships in London will be massive and it would nice to be a part of that. It’s very likely you’re going to be going to the Olympics if you’re at that event.”