Michal Kwiatkowski has withdrawn from the Tour de Pologne, which gets underway in Krakow on Saturday. He won his home race a year ago but announced on Tuesday that he would miss this year's race due to the need to recover from the efforts of the Tour de France.
Kwiatkowski was part of the Ineos team that helped Egan Bernal to final overall victory at the Tour, though the Pole appeared to be some way short of the form he displayed in his previous two Grande Boucle appearances for Team Sky.
After a sparkling 2018 season that yielded nine victories, Kwiatkowski has had a more subdued 2019 campaign. The 29-year-old has yet to rack up a victory this season, though he rode well to finish third at Paris-Nice and Milan-San Remo in March.
“I'm not a guy who likes to change his plans but unfortunately this is one of those moments. As much as I love Tour de Pologne and cherish memories from last year, I will not participate in this year's edition,” Kwiatkowski wrote in a personal message.
“I know now, straight after finishing Tour de France, that recovery is what my body was suggesting [to] me probably since a very long time. So far it wasn't the season I was dreaming of and this is a good time for reflection and thinking about my preparation, combining heavy racing in 2018 and trying to step up from that in particular.”
Kwiatkowski was among Sky’s most impressive climbers on the 2017 and 2018 Tour de France, when the team took the overall title through Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas, respectively, but he did not play as prominent a role in Bernal’s victory.
“Hopefully soon I will be able to find a joy from riding my bike and I'm sure that from there on I will win again some big races,” Kwiatkowski wrote.
“It’s a very difficult decision to miss that amazing feeling of racing in front of Polish fans. I will be watching and hoping my teammates put on a great show.”
The Tour de Pologne starts with a circuit race around Kraków on Saturday and ends a week later in Bukowina Tatrzańska. Cyclingnews will have full coverage of the racing, with exclusive news and interviews from Alasdair Fotheringham on the race.