Kwiatkowski focused on Strade goal

02 Mar 2018

Kwiatkowski focused on Strade goal

Related riders

Share this article

Michal Kwiatkowski is heading into Strade Bianche boosted by a win he admits he wasn’t expecting at the Volta ao Algarve.

The Pole demonstrated his form with victory on stage two in Portugal and then infiltrated the break on the final day and forged clear to take his second stage of the race and seal the overall title.

It was a hugely impressive performance from the 27 year old, who arrived in Tuscany 12 months ago on the back of finishing second overall in Algarve. Does going that one step better in 2018 give him an extra spring in his step ahead of the weekend?

“Definitely,” Kwiatkowski tells TeamSky.com. “Having the victory at Algarve in the pocket gives me a boost. As well, it tells me that everything has gone well over the winter. I didn’t expect to race so well in the Algarve but at the end of the day I know how hard I worked and how important this period is, from Strade Bianche until Liege for me.
 
“It was a really good boost at the right moment and even with the weather being so bad right now I know that I have nothing to change, nothing to chase, I just need to stay healthy. This rain, snow and everything will not stop me. That’s a really good mental boost.”
‘Kwiato’ will be chasing a record-equalling third victory on the famous white roads on Saturday in a race which it’s clear he loves. The team enjoyed a thorough recon of the route on Wednesday, riding under blue skies before the weather that’s swept over Europe moved in on Thursday, leaving open the possibility of a wet and wild race.
 
“The landscapes are just amazing,” he enthuses. “Riding those white roads on the bike, you feel free. Training on them is completely different to normal - just two or three cars passed us. The roads just feel empty and you feel completely different.
 
“We did more than five hours on Wednesday. We started the recon just before the Montalcino climb and did about 110km of the race, which was really nice. With Leo [Basso], Salva [Puccio] and Gianni [Moscon], we had a really nice day. I enjoyed it a lot. We had blue sky and sunshine, and with snow everywhere the views were amazing.
 
“The period between Algarve and Strade has been really good for me. I stayed in Nice and did lots of good training with the guys there, then we decided to come down here a day earlier than planned for the recon because the weather wasn’t looking so good. 

It was a late call, to come down to Tuscany early, but in the end we rode much further than we would have done. It was horrible on Thursday and we weren’t really able to do any kind of ride!”
Michal Kwiatkowski celebrated his second Strade Bianche win in 2017

Michal Kwiatkowski celebrated his second Strade Bianche win in 2017

If it is indeed a mud bath on Saturday then Kwiatkowski is ready and, with a strong team behind him, he’s hopeful of competing for the title.
 
"I’m prepared for that. You have to be strong mentally, that’s for sure, but I have nothing to be afraid of. The only things I need to take care of is trying to stay safe and not making any risky or stupid moves. That’s part of Strade Bianche - you need luck on your side as well.
 
"The racing is just pure. The strongest guy always wins. It’s such a great spectacle for the people watching it. It’s one of those races when you switch on the TV at 2pm it’s sometimes too late. 

"It’s always going from the gun, the first, second, third, fourth gravel sector. That’s what everyone enjoys, this kind of racing. We know what’s coming. It’s going to be a big war.”
Michal Kwiatkowski

Michal Kwiatkowski

I know my abilities and I know that this race suits me
Kwiatkowski will ride into battle with Leonardo Basso, Owain Doull, Michal Golas, Gianni Moscon, Salvatore Puccio and Lukasz Wisniowski alongside him.
 
“I will have a great team behind me. Gianni is in super good condition and knows how to race the Classics. The rest of the guys know what to do and we understand each other - that’s a big thing.
 
“There are many other favourites who are in great form, but at the end of the day you can’t be afraid of them. You have to believe in yourself - that’s it. I know my abilities and I know that this race suits me.
 
“It would be wonderful to win a third title, but there is no pressure. I just need to be focused on racing smart and trying to race for the win.”

Share this article