Sunday, July 25, 2021
HomeBlogsTavira Pro Tomás Swift-Metcalf's BlogIntroducing our New Blogger: Tomás Swift-Metcalfe

Introducing our New Blogger: Tomás Swift-Metcalfe

-

Tomas Swift-Metcalfe
Another season, but this one os going to be good!

Hi, my name is Tomás Swift-Metcalfe. Tomás is Portuguese, the Swift element is Irish, and Metcalfe is English.

I’m a “Euro-mongrel”, but I’m very much at home in Portugal.

I race with a British UCI licence, not Irish or Portuguese, because I relate somewhat with the multicultural/multinational nature of the place.

I first raced a bike at Mallory Park in the East Midlands of England, one Tuesday night in 2005. I dropped out of the race, terrified by the speed and chaos of it all. I went back two weeks later, but this time to escape my fears of cycling in a peloton, I escaped off the front and not out the back, and actually won the race.

I was at Loughborough University in 2005. I loved the place, but was a terrible student. After seven years at a boarding school in Dublin I found student life (aside from the studying) irresistible.

To cut a long story short I dropped out, and with two Cat 4 races under my belt, decided to become a pro cyclist!

My first race in Portugal was a tough, hilly race. Rui Costa and I arrived at the line with a gap of 30 seconds on the peloton. I was a bit daft and let him sit on my wheel the whole way, and I literally couldn’t sprint – I didn’t know how. I couldn’t really handle a bike either; I would use the back break in favour of the front because I was scared of being thrown over the handlebars.

Needless to say I had a lot of crashes that year.

Tomás Swift-Metcalfe
I’m based in Faro, in the south of Portugal.

At the end of this brilliant first season (2006), I had a crash that left me in a coma for a week. I was evacuated by helicopter from Porto Santo to Madeira and received five bags blood, so I cut it a but thin that time…

This completely changed my outlook; the worse things that can happen in cycling-life are a relative pleasure compared with the “nothingness” of the void, so I must make the most of things.

I was back on the bike doing a lactate threshold test three weeks later.

Tomás Swift-Metcalfe
Time trial warm up mode.

I crashed a lot for the simple fact that it’s tricky picking up a bike at 21 and racing at elite level. It came to me eventually however, after about three years of riding on the side of the peloton and taking quite a few tumbles.

My nickname here in Portugal is “Tarzan” because of my scars.

Ironically the crash in Madeira had nothing to do with my crap bike handling, but rather a dodgy quick release. I have become reasonable bike handler now though – light years from where I was.

My role in cycling is as a domestique. I do the work which most of the lighter riders, or quicker riders can’t do well.

Tomás Swift-Metcalfe
Tomás on domestique duty.

Sprinters fatigue too fast and climbers haven’t got the ‘oomph’ to pull the peloton along. I’d love an opportunity to race for “personal” win, one day.

Everything that I have won to date has been whilst working for others, even (ironically) the “best domestique award” by the Portuguese Union of Professional Cyclists!

That said, it’s fun dictating how a race will finish, I enjoy it.

Tomás Swift-Metcalfe
Pulling the bunch in the Tour of Portugal.

The UCI should allow points to be distributed however the winner sees fit; like prize money. I think we would have a much fairer system, that would reflect better the real value of a cyclist and the fact it’s a team sport, not a drag race.

Anyway, that’s my background, and I’ll be updating my new VeloVeritas blog regularly, when I hopefully have something interesting to say. I hope you enjoy it!

Cheers for now, Tomás

Catch up on Tomás’ blog archive.

Related Articles

Race Update: Trofeu Joaquim Agostinho & Circuito de Getxo

The Trofeu Joaquim Agostinho is the last tune up for the Portuguese peloton before the biggest race of the season, the Volta a Portugal. A lot of the teams turn out very strong for Agostinho, as it's known. The amateur teams also turn out strong since the race is a 2.2 and the pinnacle of their calendar, aside the 'Volta a Portugal do Futuro'.

Tomás Swift-Metcalfe Blog: More 1.1.2 Races

The last few weeks have been reasonably uneventful so what to write on the Tomás Swift-Metcalfe Blog? We had a heat wave which was wonderful, but which only lasted a week. The team did a few races in Spain (I was resting) and won a stage in Vuelta as Asturias, which was excellent. I once did that race and it was probably the hardest I ever did. The weather seems to change from valley to valley and the place is very mountainous.

The Volta a Portugal 2013, Part Two & Postscript

The fact I feel tranquil now after the Volta a Portugal is the fact I’ve got an education, a business and I have lived my dreams as a cyclist. I’m looking forward and I’ll keep riding my bike. I love cycling.

Trofeu Joaquim Agostinho

I raced the Trofeu Joaquim Agostinho this weekend past weekend. The Prologue was very tricky, very technical. I did my best and I was very pleased. I didn’t have any great expectation for it, which was a good thing as I missed quite a lot of my warm up, due to everyone going berserk when my team mate and Time Triallist Alejandro Marque broke a gear cable just minutes before he was due to race. I also haven’t touched the TT bike since February.

Tomás Swift-Metcalfe Blog – Good news comes to those that wait

I haven't written on this blog for a while. The reason for this was that I was kind of getting tired of whining on about bad luck, hard times and other problems. No one wants to read that and no one cares. So I decided to keep calm and hang tight till good news come along. Writes Tomás Swift-Metcalfe.

Volta ao Alentejo

At the Volta ao Alentejo I spent the majority of every single stage on the front of the bunch controlling the race. All four days. Our sprinter was quite well placed to win the race, so I was quite happy to do this.

At Random

Shaun Wallace – Part One; Worlds Pursuiter in the 90’s

Shaun Wallace was a multiple British champion, twice Worlds silver medallist and three times a Commonwealth Games silver medallist as well as a world record holder on two occasions. High times we caught up with the man; he was at home in San Diego where he settled 22 years ago to ‘escape the winters.’

Catharine Pendrel Takes Gold in the Commonwealth Games 2014 – Cross Country Mountain Bike, Elite Women

Three times the cross country mountain bike event has been in the Commonwealth Games (introduced in 2002, it didn't feature on the programme in Dehli four years ago) and three times Canada have topped the womens' podium. This time it was the turn of Catharine Pendrel, who took control of the race midway round the first of five laps and wasn't challenged again, soloing to a 70 second win over her teammate Emily Batty, with Australian rider Rebecca Henderson third a further 12 seconds back, after a race-long battle with Batty.

Dooley’s RT at the Tour Nivernais Morvan 2009 – Day 1

A Dooley's RT team is currently racing in France, taking up an invitation to the Tour Nivernais Morvan in central France, an important event for elite riders, and a very hard 5 stages in 4 days.

Katie Archibald – Top Seven across Five Commonwealth Games Disciplines

Yes, it's another Katie Archibald interview; but as the winner of Scotland's only cycling medal - disabled events excepted - we thought we should have a chat with the lady who posted top seven finishes across five different disciplines.

Get Shirty with Peloton Racer

Ed and I spent a week recently working on the Giro d'Italia, and after doing quite a few trips like this we have our routine down to a tee; we always travel light, just carry-on baggage, it makes getting through airport security checks and moving around in a hire car for a week or two far easier. Fortunately, just before leaving, we got our hands on some of the new T-shirts by Peloton Racer, which we were happy to put to the test on our travels.

Tino Tabak – Dreams and Demons of a Kiwi Legend

Kiwi’s in the peloton are no rarity these days; George Bennett, Shane Archbold, Paddy Bevin, Jack Bauer are all well-known figures on the World Tour but the spiritual Godfather of these men whilst as Kiwi as they come was actually born in The Netherlands; Mr. Tino Tabak is definitely old school 70’s and ‘tells it like it is.’