Kwiatkowski ready for 'race of his dreams'

23 Apr 2017

Kwiatkowski ready for 'race of his dreams'

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On the eve of Liege-Bastogne-Liege Michal Kwiatkowski believes he is as strong as he’s been all season.

Kwiatkowski won Strade Bianche and Milan-San Remo in March, capping a stellar start to 2017, and he’s enjoyed a fine Ardennes campaign so far, finishing second at the Amstel Gold Race and seventh at Flèche Wallonne.

But the one the 26 year old really wants is Liege, describing it as the ‘race of his dreams’, and he is confident that he can perform well in La Doyenne.

He said: "I don’t feel any fatigue and I believe I’m better than I was there [Milan-San Remo]. I worked hard to be in the best shape possible for the Ardennes this year. I’m really enjoying training, my life, and racing again. I’m happy.

“At the end of the day though it’s bike racing, and anything can happen. But I’m sure about my condition and my shape, so let’s hope for good weather on Sunday and a bit of luck.”
Michal Kwiatkowski

Michal Kwiatkowski

"We have a number of guys that can win the race."
Kwiatkowski will lead the team alongside Sergio Henao, who finished fourth at Flèche Wallonne and joined Kwiato in the crucial break at the Amstel Gold Race - but the team has other options too.

"We have a number of guys that can win the race,” he continued. "Me and Sergio are the leaders but then we have Diego [Rosa], Gianni [Moscon], and that puts us in a really good situation.

"We can force people to chase us, force them to work harder. We can play different cards, and me and Sergio can wait until Saint-Nicholas. That’s our target, to get over there in the first group.”
Sergio Henao starts as joint leader with Kwiato

Sergio Henao starts as joint leader with Kwiato

Kwiatkowski decided to skip the cobbled Classics this year in favour of the Ardennes, having attempted to do both in 2016, and he believes that choice has paid off.

He added: “The Tour of Flanders is one of the races that I would love to put on my palmares but every year I’m thinking about being in the best shape possible for Liege-Bastogne-Liege. I know how difficult it is.

"I think it’s possible to win them both, but I was so upset last year with my results and condition in the Ardennes after racing the cobbled Classics, so we went back to my old race programme. 

“Winning Liege is amazing for a cyclist and I believe one day I can do it. I believe it suits me better than the Tour of Flanders. That’s why I want it so much.”

The Pole is one of the bookies' favourites, but he believes Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) is the man to beat, after the experienced Spaniard won Flèche Wallonne for the fifth time on Wednesday.

But, as he explains, he doesn’t think he’s unbeatable: "I performed well in Amstel and Flèche and I feel in good shape, ready to have a good race. Let’s hope I’m not in the position where everybody looks at me. It’s up to Valverde, who’s in the shape of his life, he’s flying, so it’s up to him to take control of the race.

"When you want to win the race you have to do your own thing and attack when it’s the best moment for you, not wait for Alejandro’s acceleration. Let’s take the lesson from Wednesday’s race and try to use our abilities more, not wait for him and what he’s going to do. He’s the biggest favourite, but let’s try to use our strength."