Michal Kwiatkowski says he wants to win the World Championship team time trial on Sunday as a “parting gift” to Etixx – Quick-Step, as he looks set to leave the team for the 2016 season.
Rumours flew for much of the year around the future of the World Champion, and after initially saying he’d prefer to stay with the Belgian team, he seemingly had a change of heart and was confirmed to be leaving the team by owner Patrick Lefevere in July.
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While a new destination for the Pole is yet to be officially confirmed, Kwiatkowski’s agent told Cycling Weekly earlier this year that he “is likely signing with Sky.”
But before he leaves Etixx, the 2015 Amstel Gold Race winner is looking to sign-off with with a win in what could be his final race for the team, as they look to reclaim their TTT title from BMC in Richmond this weekend.
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“It doesn’t that I’m leaving the team,” Kwiatkowski told Sporza. “I want the world title in the team time trial to take as a parting gift of this team.
“We trained together already in Belgium and that was important. It was a learning experience to train together at high speed. The data we gathered will certainly help us move forward.”
If Kwiatkowski does join the British Sky squad, he’s likely to be joined by another big-name signing in Mikel Landa, who arrives from Astana to become another GC contender for the team.
Kwiatkowski meanwhile, who will also try to defend his road race world title in just over a week, will likely come into the squad as the main man for the Ardennes Classics.
Despite his impending departure, Etixx coach Tom Steels maintains that he remains an integral part to the team’s TTT title hopes and says he’s sure Kwiatkowski will give it his all.
“Michal can be like Tony Martin, the team’s engine, longer repayment doing turns,” Steels said.
“So others may recover more. The fact that he moves to another makes team does not difference. I am sure that Michal will again pull out all the stops for Team Quick Step. I’m convinced of that.”