BEN Swift has picked up Yorkshire cycling’s most prestigious honour.
One of the most versatile and successful of the current generation of international road and track cyclists, the Rotherham racer has been named the winner of the Charles Arthur Rhodes Memorial Award.
The accolade specifically recognises his victory in the British Road Race Championships in Norwich in June — just months after Ben ruptured his spleen in a bad training ride accident in Tenerife.
The award is presented annually and previous recipients include high profile World and Olympic champions such as Beryl Burton and Brian Robinson and, more recently, Lizzie Armitstead and Ed Clancy.
Swift’s citation states: “Ben Swift is worthy of the 2019 Award, having achieved victory in the British Road Race Championship, the culmination of 12 years competing successfully as a World Tour professional.
“He epitomises all that is admirable about Yorkshire racing cyclists and by his many achievements he has brought exceptional honour to the county.”
Ben, now aged 32, had his first race when only three — a children’s cyclo-cross at Rother Valley Country Park — and after an early BMX career he rapidly made an impression in road cycling and track races, winning track national junior championships.
He represented Great Britain in the 2008 Olympic road race and was fourth in the U23 World Road Championship.
Swift joined the newly formed Team Sky for 2010, winning the overall points and young rider classifications and a stage of the Tour de Picardie, and followed this in 2011 with more stage wins in Spain, Switzerland, California and Australia.
Continuing to mix disciplines, in 2012 he excelled to win gold in the scratch race at the Melbourne Track World Championships and silver in both the points race and the madison before switching back to the road for more successes.
After a two-year spell riding for UAE, in 2019 Ben returned to Sky, now rebranded Team Ineos.
His season started badly last February when he sustained serious injuries on a pre-season training camp but coming into fitness and form later, Ben achieved a major ambition in winning the British Road Championship at Norwich.
He went into the World Road Championship at Harrogate as team leader and despite the diabolical weather conditions he displayed true Yorkshire grit to survive in front of his home supporters.
The C.A. Rhodes Award will be presented at the Yorkshire Cycling Federation annual luncheon on February 23 in Pontefract.
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