BRITISH sprint star Ben Swift is targeting stage wins and a general classification challenge as he headlines Team Sky’s Tour of Britain challenge.

Swift, who recorded five top 10 finishes in last year’s race, is part of a stellar Sky line-up that includes four British riders.


Swift is joined by Pete Kennaugh and Ian Stannard, who both helped Chris Froome to overall victory in the Tour de France earlier this summer, and Andrew Fenn.

Another member of the squad’s Team Sky squad, climber Wout Poels, is included along with Italian sprinter Elia Viviani who has won stages at Grand Tour level.

And Swift believes the strength of the squad can translate into results on the road.

He said: “This will be my seventh appearance at this race and I know just how tough the British roads can be, but we have a strong team and we’ll certainly be challenging for stage wins and the overall GC.

“The Tour of Britain has become one of the stand-out races in the cycling calendar. It’s a very special feeling to race in front of your home fans and see the fantastic support that we get every year.

“Cycling has never been more popular in the UK and the crowds at the Tour of Britain get bigger with each edition of the race, which is great to see.”

Swift won a stage of the race in the 2009 edition and also claimed the King of the Mountains jersey in 2007 while Poels and Viviani have also tasted stage success in the race.

Meanwhile, Team Sky’s Chris Froome crashed on stage 11 of the Vuelta a Espana to see his chances of overall victory all but end.

Spain’s Mikel Landa won the gruelling 138-kilometre stage from Andorra la Vella to Cortals d’Encamp.

Italy’s Fabio Aru crossed the line 1min and 22secs behind to finish second while American rider Ian Boswell of Team Sky came in third.

Froome crashed on the first climb of the stage and - despite suffering a cut to his right leg - he was able to finish the stage, which contained six mountain passes but is now 15th overall, seven minutes and 30 seconds behind the new red jersey.