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Team Sky ruled Ben Swift out of the Giro d’Italia Thursday after dislocating his right shoulder on a training ride, according to the British-based team’s website. Jeremy Hunt, 38, will replace the explosive Swift on Sky’s Giro roster.
Hunt began his career in 1998 with Banesto and has ridden in all three of cycling’s grand tours, but Sky will certainly miss Swift in this year’s Giro – which begins Saturday in Herning, Denmark – as the loss of the 24-year-old cuts into Mark Cavendish’s leadout train.
“Well that is my Giro over, had a very heavy crash out on the bike today very disappointed not to be able to start,” Swift said on his Twitter account.
Swift’s absence should make it a bit tougher on Cavendish to win stages in a Giro that offers a sprinter-friendly first week, with three likely sprint finishes.
Cavendish is already having to adjust to life without Mark Renshaw, widely considered the world’s best leadout man, after the two parted ways at the end of last season: Cavendish went to Sky, and Renshaw to the Dutch team Rabobank, in hopes of taking his own stage wins rather than always setting up Cavendish.
Cavendish expressed sympathy for Swift on his Twitter account Thursday. “Really gutted for [Swift] to be leaving before the race has started. He crashed VERY heavily today in training. Get well soon mate,” he wrote.
Swift had devoted much of the early part of his season to the boards, earning a world title in the scratch race at the track world championships.