Michal Kwiatkowski won this year’s World Championships road race in Ponferrada, Spain today, in a solo victory just ahead of Simon Gerrans (Australia) and Alejandro Valverde (Spain).
Kwiatkowski succeeded in riding clear of the lead group in the closing 7 kilometers. And, despite a determined effort by Gerrans and Valverde to reel him back in, Polish rider was able to hold-off his rivals in the waning moments of today’s race.
Kwiatkowski’s first move came when he quickly reeled in a breakaway group containing Cyril Gautier (France), Michael Valgren Andersen (Denmark), Vasil Kiryienka (Belarus) and Alessandro De Marchi (Italy).
From there, Kwiatkowski initiated a move of his own, bringing De Marchi and Andersen along with him. However, a final acceleration was enough to jettison his breakaway companions.
With 6 kilometers remaining, Philippe Gilbert (Belgium) finally attacked, followed by Gerrans, Valverde, Matti Breschel (Denmark), Tony Gallopin (France) and Rui Costa (Portugal), in an attempt to catch the Pole. However, at that point, Kwiatkowski had already built up an 18 second advantage over the six-man chase.
With one kilometer to go, Valverde decided to slip back, seemingly content with securing a podium position for himself.
In the meantime, others in the main field opened up a furious sprint to try to catch Kwiatkowski, but it was much too late, as the Polish rider was able to sit up and revel in his victory.
“I was feeling great on the last lap and I’m really grateful of my teammates and all their work,” the winner said at the line.
“I was just going to for the win I was trying to take risks because some were calculating and waiting the final climb.”
“Two days ago I watched the U23 race and I knew it was possible to do this type of win, especially in the race. I just did my effort and had a little bit of gap. This is just incredible.”
Meanwhile, Alexander Kristoff (Norway) led home the remnants of the field seven second later.
Race result 1. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) 6hrs 29mins 07secs 2. Simon Gerrans (Aus) +1sec 3. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Same time 4. Matti Breschel (Den) 5. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) 6. Tony Gallopin (Fra) 7. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) +4secs 8. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) +7secs 9. John Degenkolb (Ger) Same time 10. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) 11. Fabian Cancellara (Swi)12. Ben Swift (GB)
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