A part of the British Cycling development system from 2004, and the winner of a number of national junior track titles, 2007 was a breakthrough year for Swift as he joined Pete Kennaugh, Johnny Bellis and Steven Burke in winning team pursuit gold at the UEC Under-23 European Track Championships and also won his first UCI Track Cycling World Cup medal with a team pursuit bronze.
In August 2007, Swift made his professional debut for Barloworld as a trainee and won the mountains classification in the Tour of Britain and continued his progress on the road in 2008, riding for the British Cycling development team in a summer which saw him represent for his country in the Olympic Games road race in Beijing and finish fourth at the UCI Under-23 Road World Championships.
Swift’s eye-catching form earned him a two-year contract from the new Russian Team Kautasha and, in 2009, he was handed a ride in his first Grand Tour, the Giro d’Italia, which saw the 21-year-old come third on the second stage. To the delight of British fans, there was also a major stage victory in the Tour of Britain before year’s end, with Swift winning stage seven into Yeovil.
In January 2010, Swift transferred to the new Team Sky, with almost immediate success as he won a stage and the general classification at the three-stage Tour de Picardie in mid-May and, keen to maintain his track interests, March had already seen him ride to silver in the team pursuit at the UCI Track Cycling World Championships.
A first World Tour win
The 2011 road season was a long and successful one for the Yorkshire rider, with Swift winning his first stage of a UCI World Tour race on stage two of the Tour Down Under, following that with victory on stage six and a third place overall on general classification.
Stage wins followed at the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon, Tour de Romandie and Tour of California, as did selection for the Tour de France in which he marked his debut with a creditable sixth on stage 15.
Swift aimed for a place on the Great Britain track team for the 2012 London Olympics and started the year well at the 2012 UCI Track World Championships in Melbourne with a gold in the scratch race - the first Briton to do so - and silvers in points race and Madison, with Geraint Thomas.
A broken shoulder, suffered in training the week before the Giro d’Italia, ruled Swift out of that Grand Tour and harmed his Olympic bid although he re-discovered his road form well at the Tour of Poland in July with two stage wins and victory in the points classification. He was also Team Sky’s designated sprinter at the Vuelta a Espana and finished second on stage 18 in Valladolid.
Unfortunately, a crash at the Trofeo Alcudia in Mallorca in February 2013 re-injured Swift’s shoulder, a problem that would plague him all summer and lead to him ending his season prematurely in August to under surgery.
The decision proved sound in 2014, a prolific year for Swift in which he won two stages and the points jersey at the Settimana Internazionale di Coppi e Bartali, a stage of the Tour of the Basque County and five top ten finishes on stages of the Giro d’Italia. In March, Swift also recorded one of his most impressive results to date with a third place in the legendary Milan-San Remo one-day race. On the domestic front, Swift also came second in the British National Road Race Championship and was an active figure at the Tour of Britain.
The 2015 campaign started with Swift showing similar form, including a stage win and defence of the points jersey at the Settimana Internazionale di Coppi e Bartali, but, sadly, injuries once again derailed his season - ironically, on his home race, the Tour of Yorkshire where a crash damaged his right shoulder and ruled him out of racing for three months.
The start of 2016 saw Swift hit impressive early season form, with prominent sprint finishes at the Tour Down Under, Tour of Dubai, Tour of the Basque County - including a win in the points competition - and Paris-Nice. At Milan-San Remo, Swift also stood on the podium for a second consecutive year after narrowly losing a sprint to Frenchman Arnaud Demare to finish second.
Away from the bike
From a cycling family in Rotherham, Swift experimented with a variety of sports but confesses he had little interest in rugby or football, being attracted to the speed offered by cycling and taking his first steps in BMX and mountain bike riding. At his first “race,” Swift was accompanied by his father and aged only three-and-a-half.
Swift began cycling seriously with Ashfield RC, Mossley CRT and Scunthorpe Poly CC before joining the ranks of British Cycling, which included a spell living in Italy with the Academy. There, Swift earned a reputation as a decent cook for his young team mates.
Upon signing his first professional contract with Team Katusha, Swift treated himself to a Vespa motor scooter.
Swift admits he enjoys watching television box sets, including Game of Thrones, has a passion for cake and ice cream and lists his unusual talents as including riding a unicycle.
|UCI Track Cycling World Championships, Melbourne (Australia)||scratch race||Gold|
|UCI Track Cycling World Championships, Melbourne (Australia)||points race||Silver|
|UCI Track Cycling World Championships, Melbourne (Australia)||Madison||Silver|
|UCI Track Cycling World Championships, Poland||team pursuit||Silver|
|UCI Track Cycling World Cup, Manchester (UK)||team pursuit||Bronze|
|UEC European Track Championships, Cottbus (Germany)||team pursuit||Gold|