News: Michal Kwiatkowski on winning Algarve

Michal Kwiatkowski explains how he came to win the Volta ao Algarve ahead of the race leader at the start of the stage, Geraint Thomas and talks about his early season goals.

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News: Michal Kwiatkowski on winning Algarve

At the start of the final stage in the Volta Algarve, Geraint Thomas was in yellow and his teammate Michael Kwiatkowski was in second place. At the end of the day, their places were swapped after Kwiatkowski won the final stage after an eventful stage where Sky were put under a lot of pressure.

But Michael Kwiatkowski timed a late attack to perfection to win stage five of Volta ao Algarve and seal the overall victory, with Geraint Thomas second on the podium for the GC.

Kwiatkowski emerged from a small selection on the final climb to attack solo leader Zdenek Stybar (Quck-Step Floors) with two kilometres to go and pass him to secure a dramatic win. He was pursued by Ruben Guerreiro (Trek-Segafredo) and Serge Pauwels (Dimension Data), but they were unable to catch the Polish rider who won from Guerreiro by four seconds.
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Thomas finished in a chase group that was 1’47” behind Kwiatkowski, finishing second overall with ‘Kwiato’ earning the Points jersey and Team Sky finishing as best overall team. Earlier on the stage, a large group of 31 riders containing several GC threats was able to break free of the peloton with Kwiatkowski and Michal Golas Team Sky’s representatives tasked with bringing them to heel.

Kwiatkowski revealed that the team had to re-adjust their tactics during the race, but with support from Golas, he was able to secure the stage win from the lead group.

He explained: “We had our eyes open at the start and we felt that was the best way to defend yellow and to defend second place and even go for the stage win. I’m very thankful for the team and especially to G for that opportunity. Nobody expected the race was going to go that way, it was not a typical way to defend a yellow jersey. A massive thanks to Michal Golas – he was amazing today, protecting me in the breakaway and he made this win possible.”

Lukas Postlberger (Bora-Hansgohe) and Stybar were able to get away with 30km to go, but the large group splintered, and Golas and Kwiatkowski worked hard to keep the gap from growing too far, paving the way for the Team Sky rider to complete the stage-winning attack.
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Kwiatkowski added: “It was very difficult situation out there [in the break], there were so many guys close in the GC and they were putting us under pressure, trying to split the group. I really felt under pressure as I thought that the chance of taking the lead from G was a strange situation, but I thought that I have to do the perfect race.”

“The only way I was going to be able to look G in the eyes after the race was going to be if I won the stage and did everything perfectly. He added: “I think it’s a little bit unexpected that I’m in such good shape as I didn’t expect that I could climb so well here and I didn’t spend time here beforehand to get used to the country. I won overall, I won this amazing stage on the Malhao, G finished second and I won the points jersey.”

“I am heading straight to Belgium now for a recon of Flanders and a check of the equipment and I will have time for some training and to do different things, then I will be racing back in Strade Bianche then San Remo, Tour of Flanders and the Ardennes and that is pretty much my race programme for the first part of the season.”




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