Kwiatkowski joins Sky for Tour of Flanders

Moscon, Van Baarle, Rowe, Stannard all 'cards to play'

Team Sky is bringing in Tirreno-Adriatico and Volta ao Algarve winner Michal Kwiatkowski for its team in the Tour of Flanders.

Kwiatkowski's palmares are full of victories in all manner of races - Milan-San Remo (2017), the Amstel Gold Race (2015), E3 Harelbeke (2016), Strade Bianche (2014, 2017) and the World Championships, but his record in the Tour of Flanders has been less successful. Out of three starts, his best result was 27th place in 2016 and Sunday will be his first cobbled race of the season.

But Kwiatkowski is only one of a handful of possibilities for Team Sky, says directeur sportif Servais Knaven.

"It's one of the biggest races of the year so of course everyone is really up for it," Knaven said in a press release.

The team also includes 23-year-old Gianni Moscon, who has been there or thereabouts in this week's build-up races and last year came in 15th in the Tour of Flanders.

Dylan van Baarle will also have another go after narrowly missing the podium in last year's Tour of Flanders, coming third out of the three-man sprint behind winner Philippe Gilbert while racing with the Cannondale-Drapac squad.
"We have a very strong lineup," Knaven says. "If you look at Gianni, Kwiato, Dylan, Luke [Rowe], Ian [Stannard] and then the super helpers Christian [Knees] and Michal [Golas] – I think we have a really good team who can ride well and protect the leaders on the flat and between the climbs. Then we have a few cards to play in the pre-final and the final."

The team will have a preview of the course on Friday along with most of the other teams. "The guys know the roads but it helps you get in the zone and we can also check out some parts of the course that have changed a bit. The riders are really ready for it and most of them have been racing in Belgium already in the last week."

Team Sky has yet to score a one-day victory this season and will be up against a dominant Quick-Step Floors squad, in addition to Bora-Hansgrohe with Peter Sagan and BMC with Greg Van Avermaet, among many other contenders. Knaven acknowledges it is a difficult race to win.

"Let's see how it plays out on Sunday and where the race is decided. It could be a bit earlier over Kwaremont, Paterberg, Koppenberg. But we've also seen a lot that the final two climbs have been decisive. Then it's all about the legs so we'll see how it is when we get there.

"But I have a good feeling. The guys are ready and we'll go for the win. But so will everyone else! It's a tough battle but that's why it's so beautiful if you can win it."

Team Sky for the Tour of Flanders: Michal Golas, Christian Knees, Michal Kwiatkowski, Gianni Moscon, Luke Rowe, Ian Stannard, Dylan van Baarle.

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