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by Shane Stokes
December 24, 2014
A piece of history will be made in January when, for the first time ever, the world road race champion will line out in the Tour de San Luis. Michal Kwiatkowski has confirmed that he will take part, with the Polish rider getting his season underway in the south American event.
Kwiatkowski has previous knowledge of the race, having competed there as part of the Omega Pharma-QuickStep team in 2013. He impressed then and will try to do the same again, even if his off-season was likely packed with engagements due to the rainbow bands encircling his chest.
“I have very good memories of the race,” he said. “I rode there with Cavendish for the first time in 2013. I wore the leader’s jersey for one day and I finished in third place in the individual time trial as well as on one hilly stage.”
He was also third on the Mirador del Potrero climbing stage and finished 12th overall.
“I did not expect to reach such a good level at that point of the season,” he admits. “So I have very good memories of the race.”
Kwiatkowski has impressed in recent seasons despite his young age, and made a breakthrough in 2014. Months before his world title he was clocking up notable results; victories in the Volta ao Algarve, for example, as well as second overall in the Vuelta al Pais Vasco, third in Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Flèche Wallonne, fifth in the Amstel Gold Race and second in the Tour of Britain.
He’s taken a break and recharged his batteries after the season, and is now ready to head back to San Luis.
Looking back to his debut there two years ago, Kwiatkowski said he was really impressed by the huge crowds at the team presentation. The thoughts of that reception are part of his desire to go back to the event again, and he will consequently line out alongside others such as Etixx-QuickStep team-mate Mark Cavendish and the 2014 Giro d’Italia champion Nairo Quintana (Movistar).
“I like the competition because the weather is fine, there is a good organisation, the race is suitable to build a solid base for the rest of the season,” he said. “It will be wonderful to wear my rainbow jersey in Latin America.”