Kwiato takes historic Strade Bianche win

04 Mar 2017

Kwiato takes historic Strade Bianche win

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Michal Kwiatkowski claimed Team Sky’s 250th win with a stunning solo victory at Strade Bianche.

The team’s fifth victory of 2017 is the 250th in its illustrious history and it was sealed in magical style, as Kwiatkowski dominated in Italy, proving that he’s back to his very best.

The 26 year old - who also won the race in 2014 - looked strong from the start and chose the perfect moment to attack on a gruelling wet day in Tuscany, pushing clear of his rivals with 14 kilometres to go.

It looked to be a brave move at the time but it paid dividends, as the Pole quickly forged a significant 30-second gap that never closed.

Greg van Avermaet (BMC) and Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) battled hard behind but couldn’t get close to Kwiatkowski, and the pair had to settle with second and third respectively in Siena’s famous Piazza del Campo after a spectacular 175km.
Kwiato celebrates a famous win

Kwiato celebrates a famous win

2017 has started strongly for ‘Kwiato’ with a fine ride to second overall at the Volta ao Algarve and now a win at Strade Bianche, but 2016 was tough for the 26 year old and he was quick to thank the team for the trust placed in him after his epic ride.

He said: “I was thinking about last year when I crossed the line, and I feel so satisfied. The team has put big trust in to me and all the hard work I’ve done in preparation for this season has paid off.

“It’s the second victory at Strade Bianche in my career - it’s just amazing. Coming into the final stages alone was an incredible feeling.”

Explaining his bold attack, Kwiatkowski added: “We started to play a game after the Sante Marie section. I didn’t feel so good there, but the cooperation wasn’t so strong among the group, so I thought the best thing was to go at my own pace.

“I didn’t think they’d cooperate well behind me and I could choose my own pace, my own tempo, and go to the finish. I’m so happy that it worked out.”
Michal Kwiatkowski

Michal Kwiatkowski

The team has put big trust in to me and all the hard work I’ve done in preparation for this season has paid off.
Team Sky Sport Director Dario Cioni explained that bad luck prevented Diego Rosa and Gianni Moscon from helping Kwiatkowski in the latter stages.

He said: “The race was split open with 100km to go. There was a big attack from the Lotto Soudal guys and Kwiato entered that group.

“But there was also a crash that cut out a couple of our guys. Diego had to change his bike and we had a lot of guys in the group that was then 30 seconds down, but there was another crash and Gianni went down, so that was the main reason the guys were behind.

“It’s a race where you need to be lucky… but we won the race, so we can’t complain!”

Commenting on it being the team’s 250th win, Cioni added: “It’s nice to add Strade Bianche to the team’s palmares. It’s a race we hadn’t won before and it’s regarded as one of the coolest races out there. It makes reaching the landmark even more special.”
The race had been blown apart on the sixth gravelled sector of road, when a group of 15 riders broke clear of the peloton. Kwiatkowski made the cut, as the peloton fractured behind.

World champion Peter Sagan also made the select group, but abandoned soon after due to illness, and the group began to slim down.

The three minute gap to the day’s break quickly began to whittle down, and the forecast rain began to fall.

As the kilometres slipped by Kwiatkowski looked stronger and stronger, covering off attacks and continually pushing the pace, splitting the group on more than one occasion as they caught and then passed the lead group.

The famous white roads didn’t phase the Pole as he pushed on, and took a win that will live long in the memory.