Road Worlds – Kwiatkowski Victory


Tour of Britain runner up Michal Kwiatkowski (Poland) wins the rainbow jersey in Spain, Ben Swift is 12th

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Road Worlds – Kwiatkowski Victory

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Photo: Tim DeWaele/OPQS

24-year-old Michal Kwiatkowski (Poland) who was runner up two weeks ago in London in the 2014 Tour of Britain for his trade team Omega Pharma Quickstep, is the World Road Race Champion. Isolated for Poland after his teammates gave everything on the front to chase down breakaways earlier in the race, Michal gained a golden reward for an enormous risk.

Kwiatkowski attacked with 6.9km to go, in anticipation of a final climb (1.1km, 6.6% average gradient) and then a descent to a flat finale of the 254.8km UCI World Road Championship on Sunday. The move was perfectly timed. Kwiatkowski went on to win gold despite the best effort of the riders behind him. A small group of favorites tried to chase him down in the final kilometres.

Several national teams had multiple riders still present in the peloton, but the gap was too much to hope the race ended in a bunch sprint and the chase forced a select group to form to chase down Kwiatkowski but he was able to hold the elite group behind him off in the final metres to become world road champion for the first time in his career.

“Our team did incredible work today,” Kwiatkowski said of his Polish teammates. “We just tried to control the bunch the whole day. I was in the front and I didn’t plan to attack on the second-to-last descent. But I saw the opportunity to be in the group in front, which had five riders at that point before the last climb”.

“I caught them and could relax a bit, and control my effort on the last climb. Even a small advantage on the last climb can be difficult to chase down a rider like me from there. I saw it was possible from the Under-23 race before, that it’s possible to make it. I’m not the best sprinter compared to guys like Simon Gerrans and Alejandro Valverde, but in the end it worked and it is an incredible feeling”.


Photo: Tim DeWaele/OPQS

“I think for Polish cycling, this is really important to have a beautiful victory like this. This season has been amazing for Poland with Rafal Majka and his performance at the Tour de France for example. Now I have this rainbow jersey, and it’s an amazing feeling. I told the guys at a meeting yesterday that I felt great and I said it again at the start of the race”.

“I really needed support from them and they did it all the time. I felt relaxed all day. With these weather conditions it was important to stay in front. This made it much easier for me to have such great help from my teammates. It kept me comfortable and gave me big energy at the end”.

“I have to thank them, and I have to also dedicate this to my girlfriend Agata and the Polish nation as they give me such big morale, and I am so proud to give this back to them.”

Above: Poland in charge of the peloton and later rewarded with a Polish World Champion

He is the first Polish rider in UCI history to win road gold, and only the third in OPQS history to earn the rainbow jersey on the road after Tom Boonen in 2005, and Paolo Bettini in 2006 and 2007.

“I am only 24-years-old, but in the second half of the season I just felt great until now and it showed in the final kilometres,” Kwiatkowski said.

“At 1.5 kilometers to go, it felt like so much left to go, but what can I say. I saw guys coming, I had a little bit of an advantage, and I knew it was all or nothing. I went full gas and I made it after a really risky attack. In the end, it worked, and I am going to celebrate this victory”.

“I also want to thank Omega Pharma – Quick-Step as they have always had confidence in me and because of this growth as a rider with them. I believed I could win with this kind of attack on the last lap. I should ask Tom Boonen what his life was like after winning the World Championship in 2005. I was 15-years-old when he won in Madrid. I am so proud to be the third OPQS rider to wear the rainbow stripes on the road. It shows the winning tradition of this team.”

“Today for the team, and especially for me it’s a great emotion,” OPQS CEO Patrick Lefevere said. “Michal is a rider who really grew up on our team. We always believed in him. He’s a great guy, and today we are all incredibly happy for him. The first time I met him was 2008, and immediately he impressed me with his character and his talent”.

Ben Swift 12th

Ben Swift was 5th in the sprint from a select group left after six and a half hours of racing where Milan San Remno winner Kristoff was fastest. “It was pretty tough really. I knew it was always going to come down to that last steep climb,” said Swift after the race. “I was never going to be able to follow them guys that attacked over the top and it was more about trying to maintain where I was really and hope it was going to come back”.

“Kwiatkowski did a pretty amazing ride to attack where he did on the downhill. The guys rode really well. Luke, G, Steve, Pete – we did a brilliant job, riding well together. I’m pretty happy. I’d like to have got a lot more but I think I made the best out of the situation I was in. This is the first time I’ve ever had a leadership role in the world championships apart from under-23 level so to go there and to be there active on the last lap – I’m pretty happy”.

“I’ll keep looking forwards now and I’m just happy with 2014. I’ve had a really solid year under my belt now so hopefully I’ll take another step next year.”

Millar’s Last Hurrah

Above: David Millar centre with Geraint Thomas and Luke Rowe

Great Britain road captain David Millar in his final race of his career gave his reaction after the race saying “The team rode fantastically. They couldn’t have done much more for Swifty. Luke, G and Steve looked after Swifty incredibly well in the first part of the race. When they were done, Pete did what he was supposed to do. They were right at the front when it went. Luke, Pete and Swifty were right there when it happened”.

“When the moves started going, Pete was in it. We should all value the jersey – we only get one day a year when we get to race for the national team now and there’s no other event we can do, so it’s really important that we can get together and appreciate this moment.”

Silver for the Aussies after a Golden Worlds 
Orica-GreenEDGE rider Simon Gerrans of Australia finished the race with the silver medal. Going into the race as one of the favourites, Gerrans didn’t disappoint, showing his cards in a small break over the final climb that came agonisingly close to catching the solo escape of Kwiatkowski.

Opening up his sprint Gerrans was the strongest finisher, but a few moments of hesitation by the chase in the closing kilometres meant his efforts were in pursuit of a minor medal. “Happy with the result, but at the same time just slightly disappointed,” the Australian champion said. “I raced a good race, I had fantastic support from Aussie team mates as usual. I can’t thank them enough.”

“When Michal (Kwiatkowski) went over the top with the advantage he did, we knew it would be difficult to catch him. And then with a kilometre to go, we knew we were chasing for the minor placings. 2014 has been one heck of a season for me,” Gerrans added. “It started with victories at the very beginning of the season and continued through, and it’s great to at least cap it off with silver here.”

No being King of the Castle on Sunday for the Brits but yet another solid showing in the mix in the most unpredicable race of the year

Third for the host country as Valverde finishes with the bronze
For Spain, they finished the championships with a Bronze medal thanks to Movistar’s Alejandro Valverde. He said afterwards “At the end of the race, I was seeing things getting harder and harder, because even though the field was shortening and the race eventually was really tough, many sprinters were left into the bunch and we had to drop them”.

“These Worlds might have lacked steeper slopes, but we can’t complain – it’s the same for everyone. The national team was superb, I can’t thank them enough: we worked well so I could try and jump to contest the victory in a field sprint, but we couldn’t control everything. Kwiatkowski rode excellently – he deserves this win”.

“As far as I’m concerned, I did everything I wanted to do on this cours, and claiming this bronze medal in Spain, in front of my home crowds, is really great and makes me happy. It’s hard to ever make it onto a Worlds podium: I’ve done it six times, and even though I’d liked this time to be on the top step – honestly, if you look at the competition we had to face, you give massive credit to what we achieved”.

Above: Peter Kennaugh Full Gas in the 2014 Road Worlds. A potenial winner of the event in the future for sure.

Peter Kennaugh Happy
When the push by Italy was made on lap 10, the Isle of Man’s Peter Kennaugh was in the mix and afterwards said he was happy with his ride. “It was my first professional world championships so I’m pretty happy with how I rode. Just to be in the mix in the final is hard enough in these kind of races. I tried my luck a bit earlier, which was sort of the game plan – to follow any of the bigger nations. I could have held back in that move and saved something for the end. I just thought, ‘This is it, I’ve committed’. I just gave it my best shot and then once I got caught by the group I just tried to do what I could for Swift.”

1. Kwiatkowski Michal, Poland 6:29:07
2. Gerrans Simon, Australia 00:01
3. Valverde Alejandro, Spain
4. Breschel Matti, Denmark
5. Van Avermaet Greg, Belgium
6. Gallopin Tony, France
7. Gilbert Philippe, Belgium 00:04
8. Kristoff Alexander, Norway 0:07
9. Degenkolb John, Germany
10. Bouhanni Nacer, France

11. Cancellara Fabian, Switzerland
12. Swift Ben, Great Britain
23. Costa Rui, Portuga
26. Roche Nicolas, Ireland
28. Boasson Hagen Edvald, Norway
33. Rodríguez Joaquim, Spain 0:17
40. Nibali Vincenzo, Italy 0:27
43. Sagan Peter, Slovakia 0:42
45. De Marchi Alessandro, Italy 1:03
49. Boonen Tom, Belgium
82. Kennaugh Peter, Great Britain 6:14
83. Štybar Zdeněk, Czech Republic 7:01
84. Martin Daniel, Ireland 8:25
86. Bauer Jack, New Zealand 13:43

Other GB
DNF Yates Simon, Great Britain
DNF Thomas Geraint, Great Britain
DNF Millar David, Great Britain
DNF Froome Christopher, Great Britain
DNF Yates Adam, Great Britain
DNF Rowe Luke, Great Britain
DNF Cummings Stephen, Great Britain

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