Michał Kwiatkowski believes he has the ability to win the Tour de France and hopes to mirror the success of team-mate Geraint Thomas.
The Polish all-rounder, Team Sky’s co-leader at the UAE Tour, says he hopes to continue progressing until he has the opportunity to win a Grand Tour.
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Kwiatkowski and team-mate Gianni Moscon are sharing responsibilities in the Middle East after Chris Froome pulled out last week.
When asked if he believed he had the potential to win a Grand Tour, the former world champion told Cycling Weekly: “Definitely. It’s a matter of progression on the climbs, being able to maintain the form throughout, and being solid for the three weeks.
“Right now I’m going in the right direction, and let’s hope I can step-by-step win stage races.
“One day there will be a moment when I’m able to fight like G [Geraint Thomas].
“He had different goals in his life but he was always working hard.
“Last year it just worked out perfectly.
“So he used opportunity which life gave him, which he created himself.
“Let’s hope one day I will be able to do the same.”
Kwiatkowski’s skills have allowed him to build a stellar palmarès of one-day victories, including two wins at Strade Bianche, and success at E3 Harelbeke, Amstel Gold Race, and Milan-San Remo in 2017, his first Monument.
He also became world champion in 2014.
But last season, the 28-year-old proved himself as a quality stage racer, winning the Volta ao Algarve, Tirreno-Adriatico and home race the Tour of Poland.
Kwiatkowski is also an invaluable lieutenant to Chris Froome at the Tour de France, routinely sacrificing his form in service of the four-time Tour winner.
At the end of 2018, he was given his first opportunity to lead a Sky squad at a Grand Tour, the Vuelta a España.
He wore the leader’s jersey for three stages, but crashes and ailing form in the late season hindered his performance.
But after leaving without a stage victory and finishing 43rd overall, Kwiatkowski was optimistic about his performance: “I had the opportunity and I had a really great time.
“It was a pity I didn’t win any stages. I had some bad luck but that’s how it is in cycling.
“I rode as a leader as I’m racing as leader right now in UAE.
“It was a way of preparing. It was nice to wear the red jersey and nice to have the full support of the team, but I was training from October  for San Remo preparation
“I had different goals.”