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"I actually didn't make any mistakes on the final climb. I think I did it smart on the Mur de Huy. I started in front, on the bottom. Then I took my own speed, which was much better than last year," Kwiatkowski says

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FLECHE WALLONNE

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MICHAL KWIATKOWSKI

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23.04.2014 @ 19:08 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

People say that it takes great experience and maturity to  gauge your effort perfectly on the Mur de Huy and so it is testament to Michal Kwiatkowski's great talent that he has finished in the top 5 in his first two participations in the race. Today he took his first ever classics podium after riding the final climb very smartly, perfectly riding his own tempo up the steep slopes.

 

Young Polish Champion Michal Kwiatkowski continues to take important steps in his career development with Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team.

Kwiatkowski finished 3rd at 199km La Flèche Wallonne. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) went over the top of Kwiatkowski in the final meters of the Mur de Huy to win the race. Daniel Martin (Garmin-Sharp) was 2nd.

Kwiatkowski entered the final ascent of the Mur de Huy in superb position. Jeremy Roy (FDJ.fr) attacked before that and had a small gap, but he was reeled in with about 2.7km to go. OPQS had multiple riders near the front in anticipation of the final climb, including Wout Poels who eventually finished 12th. 

Kwiatkowski, in one of the steepest sections of the final climb that can reach ramps of 26 percent, chose his moment to slightly accelerate his tempo on the front. He held his power as best he could, but Valverde was able to overtake before the finish line on the third and final time up the Mur de Huy. 

Still, the 3rd place finish for Kwiatkowski was an important milestone. He has his first Classics podium of his career, and continues his consistency in some of the biggest races so far this year. 

"I'm happy because Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, as a team, did a perfect race," Kwiatkowski said. "My teammates have been working hard for me and I have to thank them.

 

"I actually didn't make any mistakes on the final climb. I think I did it smart on the Mur de Huy. I started in front, on the bottom. Then I took my own speed, which was much better than last year because I lost a few positions on the two corners at about 450 meters to go. Today, I took my own speed and then sped up before the final.

 

"This final is also about tactics and I think I did that part correctly. But I just didn't have enough legs to just react to Valverde and Dan Martin. I'm actually happy considering this, I am getting better step-by-step.

 

"For sure I will start at Liege-Bastogne-Liege. In the past I didn't make any big results. I hope, with the way I have prepared, I can be in good form for that race as well. I think the Ardennes Classics was the first really big goal for the first part of the season.

 

"I'm excited about what I did at Amstel and what I did today, and think I can carry my good legs to the last of the three races this week. I'm satisfied I'm making improvements. I'm 23, I hope I can keep improving until I'm 30 or something. I'm trying to improve day-by-day."

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