Pole sets long term goal of Grand Tour success

With Il Lombardia being the final race of his 2017 season, Michal Kwiatkowski is able to look back at a successful year and is already beginning to plan for next season too.

After a disappointing 2016, the Team Sky rider has come back with a bang this year, taking victory in Strade Bianche and Milan-San Remo in the spring, then playing a key domestique role in Chris Froome‘s victory at the Tour de France.

Being a strong, punchy rider with a fast sprint, Kwiatkowski has always looked tailormade for success in one-day races, but says that his strong Tour performance was more of a surprise.

“I’ve never had the opportunity to ride for such a big team aiming to win a Grand Tour. It was something I will never forget,” Kwiatkowski told TeamSky.com.

“Racing every day, trying not to lose time, fighting until Paris; it was a great experience. I didn’t expect my body to be able to do it so well for three weeks, so that was something new to me. I hope I can do it again!”

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The Poles’s performance had many speculating whether could turn into a Grand Tour contender himself in the future. However Kwiatkowski knows that such a development would take time, setting his sights on following the steady development that Geraint Thomas took on his way to team leadership at this year’s Giro d’Italia.

“Of course performing for three weeks as I did gives you a little bit of hope, but to win a Grand Tour you need to be good at time trialling and super good with climbing,” the 27-year-old continued.

“If there are any signs that I can progress with those two aspects while not losing my ability to sprint and fight in the wind, then I would like to try.

“First maybe at a stage race like the Critérium du Dauphiné or Paris-Nice, then if the opportunity comes along for sure I would like to look at leading a Grand Tour in the future – just like G has done.

“He’s taken a similar path to me and this year [at the Giro] he was unlucky, but for sure he would have been up there to fight for the GC. He made lots of little steps to prove himself as a leader for a Grand Tour.”

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Kwiatkowski’s one remaining race in 2017 is Il Lombardia, which takes place on Saturday, but after a long and tiring season he is not talking up his chances.

“I would love to do Lombardia well, but the season has been very long,” he continued. “For sure, we will be up there as a team and we will try to do our best to win the race.

“Even if I am not there for the victory I know I can do a lot of work for some of the other guys. We will see how the race goes. It’s the last Monument and of course I would love to do it well, but if any of my team-mates can win it then we will go for it.”