Star Tour de France domestique commits to three more seasons at British team
The Polish rider joined Sky in 2016 after four seasons at Etixx-Quick Step and has since transformed himself into a valuable domestique for Chris Froome in the mountains of the Tour de France who is still able to pick up major victories such as Strade Bianche, Milan-San Remo, and the Clásica San Sebastián in 2017.
“I’m really happy that I have the opportunity to re-sign for the next three years. I’ve had great support from the team for the past two seasons – both last year, when I had a really difficult season, and this year, which has been great,” Kwiatkowski said.
“I’ve only been here for one and a half years, but it feels like far longer. That’s what I need – to feel supported, like part of a family, otherwise it can be difficult.
“I’m really happy to be a part of the Team Sky family. I’m looking forward to the future with Team Sky because I believe it’s the best team for my abilities and I truly believe I can win lots more races in the future here.”
Tour de France winner Chris Froome paid tribute to his team-mate after Kwiatkowski spent many kilometres on the front of the peloton in the services of his team leader through July.
“Kwiato has had a brilliant year. He’s obviously had some great wins himself, but to me his performance in the Tour de France epitomised everything about him and what he brings to Team Sky,” Froome said.
“As a rider he is just so versatile and selfless. Whether that’s riding at the front on the flat, his understanding of how a race is unfolding, getting his teammates into the right position in the sprints or being last man in be mountains.
“He’s the definition of an all-round rider and we’re lucky to have him.”
Kwiatkowski was first touted as a future Grand Tour contender when he wore the white jersey and finished 11th in his first Tour de France in 2013. That climbing potential was shown once again with his work for Froome in the mountains of the 2017 race, but the 27-year-old insisted that Grand Tour leadership will only come if he can prove himself in shorter stage races.
“Some people would like to put me in a box and say I should go in this direction, or that direction, but I truly believe it’s all about being patient and doing things step-by-step,” Kwiatkowski continued.
“If I continue to work on my climbing and time trialling, if I can perform well in one-week stage races like Paris-Nice and the [Criterium du] Dauphiné, and if there are signs that I could perform well in a Grand Tour, then yes, I will take that chance. I think I am in the best place to do that.”
Kwiatkowski is currently at an altitude camp in Italy preparing for a busy end to the season which should see him ride the GP de Plouay, Tour of Britain, the time trial and road race at the World Championships, and Il Lombardia.