World Championships: Michal Kwiatkowski wins road race gold

Gerrans takes silver and Valverde bronze

Michal Kwiatkowski (Poland) claimed the rainbow jersey with a late attack in the Elite men’s road race in Ponferrada, Spain, after bravely taking the race to the big nations and big-name favourites.

The 24-year-old jumped clear with seven kilometres to go and despite a late chase he was able to hold off Simon Gerrans (Australia) and Alejandro Valverde (Spain) who took silver and bronze.

Kwiatkowski made his first move before the final climb of the race and quickly reeled in a break consisting of Cyril Gautier (France), Michael Valgren Andersen (Denmark), Vasil Kiryienka (Belarus) and Alessandro De Marchi (Italy). It wasn’t long before the Pole was on the move again, dragging De Marchi and impressive first year professional Valgren Andersen with him. However the third acceleration was enough to distance his rivals as further down the climb the rest of the main favourites struggled to organise a chase.

It was Spain who had set the pace on the last lap but when Kwiatkowski attacked he caught the home team off-guard. Just before the summit the reaction from the peloton finally came with Valverde, Gerrans, Philippe Gilbert (Belgium), Matti Breschel (Denmark), ,Tony Gallopin (France), Greg Van Avermaet (Belgium) going clear. Despite Gilbert’s efforts in the final kilometres the chase were not able to claw back Kwiatkowski’s slender lead, with the first ever Polish winner of the event enjoying enough of a gap to sail over the line and celebrate the win with his arms in the air.

“I was feeling great on the last lap and I’m really grateful of my teammates and all their work,” Kwiatkowski said.

“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.”

Alexander Kristoff (Norway) led home the remnants of the field seven seconds later.

For Valverde it was yet another bitter-sweet World Championships with the veteran Spaniard once again picking up another medal in the competition – his sixth in total – while Gerrans, who came into the race after back-to-back wins in Canada, secured Australia’s first medal in the event since Matthew Goss’ silver in Copenhagen in 2011.

For Kwiatkowski, the magnitude of his win will take some time to sink in. As he gazed at his gold medal during the podium celebrations he could scarcely believe what he had just accomplished. However, for a rider who had not finished outside of the top five in the Ardennes this Spring, Kwiatkowski has finally landed the major one day win his talent and consistency deserves.

Michal Kwiatkowski (Poland) becomes the 2014 World Champion

Polish endeavour

The breadcrumbs leading to Kwiatkowski’s victory can be traced to Poland team’s decision to set the pace for the majority of the opening laps. After an early and less than threatening break consisting of Zydrunas Savickas (Lithuania), Matija Kvasina (Croatia), Carlos Quintero (Colombia) and Oleksandr Polivoda (Ukraine) jumped clear, it was Kwiatkowski’s team who set tempo on the front.

They allowed the four-man move to steal over fifteen minutes but the tactic at least seemed clear: keep Kwiatkowski out of trouble and near the front during the opening wet laps and let rival teams squabble for position. It paid off. Vincenzo Nibali (Italy) was a victim of an early crash and although he was able to continue, and featured in the final laps, the Polish squad kept their leader safe.

As the laps ticked by and the gap slowly started to crumble little assistance came from the likes of Spain, Belgium and Italy and when a selection of Kwiatkowski’s teammates pulled into the pits with five laps remaining the Italian’s finally came to life. The four leaders had been losing two-minutes per lap, and by the time they had raced 180 kilometres the gap had shrunk to a far more manageable 2:19.

The Italian pace setting was soon paying dividends with Giovanni Visconti and Fabio Aru driving the race. With three and a half-laps to go the former surged clear in a group of six. It proved the end for the morning’s escapees with a larger group containing Visconti, Peter Kennaugh (Great Britain), Tim Wellens (Belgium), Christopher Juul Jensen (Denmark), Quintero (Colombia), Michael Albasini Switzerland), Edvald Boasson Hagen (Norway), Tony Martin (Germany), Daniel Navarro (Spain), Simon Geschke (Germany), Rein Taaramae (Estonia), Sep Vanmarcke (Belgium) and Giampaolo Caruso (Italy).

Tony Martin (Germany) jumps off the front of a breakaway at Worlds

This forced the French and Australians into chasing and with the gap at 22 seconds, Tony Martin went clear in a move designed to lessen the pressure on his German teammates back in the bunch. The former world time trial champion’s move served its purpose well enough and with three to go he led the race with the chase group and the peloton all within 50 seconds of each other.

Kwiatkowski was still near the head of affairs, still with enough teammates and by the time the race reached the peak of the second, steeper Mirador climb, Martin had been tamed and the leading group had lost much of its impetus.

Visconti and Kennaugh attacked once more with two laps to go but their attempt fizzled out on the lower slopes of the first, easier Confederacion climb as De Marchi, Gautier and Andersen forged clear. The Cannondale rider captained the attack, remonstrating with Gautier who failed to work but in Valgren Andersen the Italian had a willing ally. And when Vasil Kiryienka bridged across just before the start of the final lap the four-leaders sought about establishing their lead.

Spain set about reeling in the move – and in the process softening up their rivals for Valverde’s expected attack - as Italy, who rode astutely until they were over-powered on the final climb, lined out in second spot.

Inside the final 15 kilometres and the gap to the leading quartet was down to 19 seconds. A field sprint, a lone attack, or a small group: every eventuality was still a possibility as Fabian Cancellara, Nacer Bouhanni, John Degenkolb and Michael Matthews lay in wait.

Belgium seemed the most cohesive squad as they set the pace on the descent towards the final climb but just as the favourites gathered for their final duel, Kwiatkowski struck, tearing towards the leading group before the final climb as the riders crossed the dam wall. Even when the fireworks went off on the final ascent of the Mirador, the Pole was safely away and despite his slender lead he hung on for victory. The rainbow jersey is his and it was highly deserved.  

Michal Kwiatkowski (Poland)

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Michal Kwiatkowski (Poland)6:29:07 
2Simon Gerrans (Australia)0:00:01 
3Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spain)  
4Matti Breschel (Denmark)  
5Greg Van Avermaet (Belgium)  
6Tony Gallopin (France)  
7Philippe Gilbert (Belgium)0:00:04 
8Alexander Kristoff (Norway)0:00:07 
9John Degenkolb (Germany)  
10Nacer Bouhanni (France)  
11Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland)  
12Ben Swift (Great Britain)  
13Sonny Colbrelli (Italy)  
14Michael Matthews (Australia)  
15Ramunas Navardauskas (Lithuania)  
16Daryl Impey (South Africa)  
17Maciej Paterski (Poland)  
18Bauke Mollema (Netherlands)  
19Warren Barguil (France)  
20Michael Valgren Andersen (Denmark)  
21Daniele Bennati (Italy)  
22Tom Dumoulin (Netherlands)  
23Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Portugal)  
24Jon Izaguirre Insausti (Spain)  
25Brent Bookwalter (United States Of America)  
26Nicolas Roche (Ireland)  
27Rigoberto Uran Uran (Colombia)  
28Edvald Boasson Hagen (Norway)  
29Petr Vakoc (Czech Republic)0:00:14 
30Alex Howes (United States Of America)  
31Chris Anker Sörensen (Denmark)  
32Giovanni Visconti (Italy)  
33Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spain)0:00:17 
34Fabio Aru (Italy)  
35Yury Trofimov (Russian Federation)  
36Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spain)  
37Lars Petter Nordhaug (Norway)  
38Dominik Nerz (Germany)0:00:21 
39Simon Geschke (Germany)0:00:24 
40Vincenzo Nibali (Italy)0:00:27 
41Giampaolo Caruso (Italy)0:00:31 
42Grega Bole (Slovenia)0:00:38 
43Peter Sagan (Slovakia)0:00:42 
44Andriy Grivko (Ukraine)0:00:50 
45Alessandro De Marchi (Italy)0:01:03 
46Alexandr Kolobnev (Russian Federation)0:01:05 
47Kristijan Durasek (Croatia)  
48Jan Bakelants (Belgium)  
49Tom Boonen (Belgium)  
50Sergei Chernetski (Russian Federation)  
51Jonathan Castroviejo Nicolas (Spain)  
52Ben Gastauer (Luxembourg)  
53Matthias Brandle (Austria)0:01:27 
54Tiago Machado (Portugal)0:01:32 
55Simon Clarke (Australia)0:02:10 
56Ben Hermans (Belgium)  
57Wouter Poels (Netherlands)0:02:19 
58Michal Golas (Poland)0:02:31 
59Vasil Kiryienka (Belarus)0:02:32 
60Cyril Gautier (France)0:02:36 
61Jean-Christophe Peraud (France)  
62Romain Bardet (France)  
63Paul Martens (Germany)0:02:39 
64Sep Vanmarcke (Belgium)0:03:42 
65Imanol Erviti (Spain)0:04:08 
66Michael Albasini (Switzerland)0:05:12 
67Nelson Filipe Santos Simoes Oliveira (Portugal)  
68Georg Preidler (Austria)  
69Danilo Wyss (Switzerland)  
70Jhoan Esteban Chaves Rubio (Colombia)  
71Christopher Juul Jensen (Denmark)  
72Kristjan Fajt (Slovenia)0:06:11 
73Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (South Africa)  
74Damiano Caruso (Italy)  
75Ilnur Zakarin (Russian Federation)  
76Jonathan Monsalve (Venezuela)  
77Sylvain Chavanel (France)  
78Alexsandr Dyachenko (Kazakhstan)  
79Jesus Herrada Lopez (Spain)  
80Manuel Quinziato (Italy)  
81Adam Hansen (Australia)  
82Peter Kennaugh (Great Britain)0:06:14 
83Zdenek Stybar (Czech Republic)0:07:01 
84Daniel Martin (Ireland)0:08:25 
85Andrey Amador Bakkazakova (Costa Rica)0:11:59 
86Jack Bauer (New Zealand)0:13:43 
87Peter Velits (Slovakia)  
88Andrey Zeits (Kazakhstan)0:14:53 
89Johan Van Summeren (Belgium)  
90Stef Clement (Netherlands)0:15:23 
91Jan Barta (Czech Republic)  
92Mykhaylo Kononenko (Ukraine)  
93Andriy Khripta (Ukraine)0:15:34 
94Miyataka Shimizu (Japan)0:20:22 
95George Bennett (New Zealand)  
DNFAndre Fernando S. Martins Cardoso (Portugal)  
DNFSergio Miguel Moreira Paulinho (Portugal)  
DNFJosé Joao Pimenta Costa Mendes (Portugal)  
DNFDaniel Navarro Garcia (Spain)  
DNFLuis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spain)  
DNFKévin Reza (France)  
DNFGeoffrey Soupe (France)  
DNFWilco Kelderman (Netherlands)  
DNFSteven Kruijswijk (Netherlands)  
DNFTom Jelte Slagter (Netherlands)  
DNFDylan Van Baarle (Netherlands)  
DNFPieter Weening (Netherlands)  
DNFRohan Dennis (Australia)  
DNFCadel Evans (Australia)  
DNFHeinrich Haussler (Australia)  
DNFMathew Hayman (Australia)  
DNFRory Sutherland (Australia)  
DNFJelle Vanendert (Belgium)  
DNFTim Wellens (Belgium)  
DNFStephen Cummings (Great Britain)  
DNFChristopher Froome (Great Britain)  
DNFDavid Millar (Great Britain)  
DNFLuke Rowe (Great Britain)  
DNFGeraint Thomas (Great Britain)  
DNFAdam Yates (Great Britain)  
DNFSimon Yates (Great Britain)  
DNFJanier Alexis Acevedo Colle (Colombia)  
DNFWinner Anacona Gomez (Colombia)  
DNFJulian David Arredondo Moreno (Colombia)  
DNFCarlos Alberto Betancur Gomez (Colombia)  
DNFSebastian Henao Gomez (Colombia)  
DNFCarlos Julian Quintero (Colombia)  
DNFMiguel Angel Rubiano Chavez (Colombia)  
DNFJohannes Fröhlinger (Germany)  
DNFAndré Greipel (Germany)  
DNFChristian Knees (Germany)  
DNFTony Martin (Germany)  
DNFPaul Voss (Germany)  
DNFMaciej Bodnar (Poland)  
DNFBartosz Huzarski (Poland)  
DNFBartlomiej Matysiak (Poland)  
DNFPrzemyslaw Niemiec (Poland)  
DNFMichal Podlaski (Poland)  
DNFPawel Poljanski (Poland)  
DNFEric Marcotte (United States Of America)  
DNFKiel Reijnen (United States Of America)  
DNFAndrew Talansky (United States Of America)  
DNFTejay Van Garderen (United States Of America)  
DNFMartin Velits (Slovakia)  
DNFDmytro Krivtsov (Ukraine)  
DNFSergiy Lagkuti (Ukraine)  
DNFOleksandr Polivoda (Ukraine)  
DNFRoman Maikin (Russian Federation)  
DNFAndrei Solomennikov (Russian Federation)  
DNFJure Kocjan (Slovenia)  
DNFKristijan Koren (Slovenia)  
DNFLuka Mezgec (Slovenia)  
DNFJan Polanc (Slovenia)  
DNFMichael Morkov (Denmark)  
DNFNicki Sörensen (Denmark)  
DNFEssaïd Abelouache (Morocco)  
DNFTarik Chaoufi (Morocco)  
DNFMohamed Er-Rafai (Morocco)  
DNFMouhssine Lahsaini (Morocco)  
DNFAbdelati Saadoune (Morocco)  
DNFBernhard Eisel (Austria)  
DNFMarco Haller (Austria)  
DNFPatrick Konrad (Austria)  
DNFRiccardo Zoidl (Austria)  
DNFNatnael Berhane (Eritrea)  
DNFMekseb Debesay (Eritrea)  
DNFDaniil Fominykh (Kazakhstan)  
DNFCarlos Galviz (Venezuela)  
DNFCarlos Jose Ochoa (Venezuela)  
DNFXavier Quevedo (Venezuela)  
DNFAzzedine Lagab (Algeria)  
DNFOleg Berdos (Romania)  
DNFAndrei Nechita (Romania)  
DNFSerghei Tvetcov (Romania)  
DNFPhilip Deignan (Ireland)  
DNFAlo Jakin (Estonia)  
DNFGert Joeaar (Estonia)  
DNFRein Taaramae (Estonia)  
DNFJacques Janse Van Rensburg (South Africa)  
DNFAleksejs Saramotins (Latvia)  
DNFToms Skujins (Latvia)  
DNFGreg Henderson (New Zealand)  
DNFRafael Andriato (Brazil)  
DNFCristian Egidio Da Rosa (Brazil)  
DNFMurilo Antonio Fischer (Brazil)  
DNFEmanuel Kiserlovski (Croatia)  
DNFMatija Kvasina (Croatia)  
DNFYukiya Arashiro (Japan)  
DNFYukihiro Doi (Japan)  
DNFJuan Carlos Rojas Villegas (Costa Rica)  
DNFLucas Gaday Orozco (Argentina)  
DNFMaximiliano Ariel Richeze (Argentina)  
DNFEduardo Sepulveda (Argentina)  
DNFRyan Anderson (Canada)  
DNFChristian Meier (Canada)  
DNFMichael Woods (Canada)  
DNFSegundo Navarrete (Ecuador)  
DNFTobias Ludvigsson (Sweden)  
DNFGeorgios Bouglas (Greece)  
DNFYauheni Hutarovich (Belarus)  
DNFKanstantsin Siutsou (Belarus)  
DNFIgnatas Konovalovas (Lithuania)  
DNFZydrunas Savickas (Lithuania)  
DNFGatis Smukulis (Latvia)  


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