Road World Championships: Ben Swift leads British bid

Froome happy to support Swift bid
Road World Championships
Venue: Ponferrada, Spain. Dates: 21-28 September
BBC coverage: Men's road race live on Red Button from 09:00 BST and BBC Two from 13:20 on 28 September. Live text commentary on BBC Sport website from 13:00.

Ben Swift will lead the Great Britain challenge ahead of Chris Froome at the Road World Championships on Sunday.

The 26-year-old, who finished third in the Milan-San Remo Classic in March, is considered his country's best victory hope in the men's road race in Spain.

Froome, the 2013 Tour de France champion and twice runner-up at the Vuelta a Espana, will ride as support.

"We're all getting behind Swifty," said Froome. "He's up for it and we've got a well-balanced team to help."

Victory from Swift - a Team Sky rider since 2010 - would be the biggest of his career.

Men's and women's road race profile

Having won the scratch race world title on the track in 2012, earlier this year he went close in Milan-San Remo and finished second on stage three of the Giro d'Italia.

He also wore the points jersey during the Tour of Britain, but lost out in the end to Poland's Michał Kwiatkowski.

Sunday's hilly 254.8km (159-mile) race is made up of 14 laps of an 18.2km (11.5-mile) circuit around Ponferrada.

Ben Swift's career
2009: First professional stage victory at Tour of Britain
2010: Joins Team Sky, wins Tour de Picardie
2011: Third in Tour Down Under, wins stage two in Tour of California, completes first Tour de France
2012: Wins scratch race in Track World Championships, two stage wins at Tour de Pologne and first in points classification
2013: Third in Trofeo Palma
2014: Third in San Remo Classic, second in stage three of Giro d'Italia

Britain's nine-man squad comprises Swift, Froome, Commonwealth Games champion Geraint Thomas, British champion Pete Kennaugh and David Millar, who will be racing for the final time in a Great Britain jersey before retiring at the end of the season.

Also in the squad are Steve Cummings, Luke Rowe and the Yates twins, Simon and Adam.

Neither Sir Bradley Wiggins, who added the time-trial world title to his cycling CV last week, or 25-time Tour de France stage winner Mark Cavendish, who asked not to be included in the team, will be riding.

Chris Froome
Froome, the 2013 Tour de France champion, will ride as support for Swift

Cavendish was the second and most recent British winner of the road race title, taking the rainbow jersey in Copenhagen in 2011 to follow Tom Simpson's victory in 1965.

Swift, from Rotherham, is seeking to join an elite group, but faces numerous challengers.

Germany's John Degenkolb showed at the Vuelta he can triumph in a sprint - winning four stages and finishing top of the points classification - although his form is unknown after a spell in hospitalexternal-link following the race in Spain.

The course would appear to suit one-day specialists such as Australia's Simon Gerrans, Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland, who is a multiple world time-trial champion, and Slovakia's Peter Sagan.

"It could go either way," added Froome. "It could come down to a selective bunch sprint or it could be one for a breakaway."