Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Ponferrada World Road Championships 2014 – Elite Men. Michal Kwiatkowski Times it Perfectly

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Spanish sports paper, Mundo Deportivo says; ‘El Tigre, en la Lieja-Ponferrada-Lieja‘ comparing the race to an Ardennes Classic.

A complete cyclist with a brilliant future,‘ they say of the 24 year-old winner, Polish rider Michal Kwiatkowski.

Despite a tiny box on the front cover, the race gets two-and-a-half pages with nice colour pictures.

Michal Kwiatkowski
It’s chaos around Kwiatkowski at the finish. Photo©Ed Hood

The second of the Nation’s four sports dailies, Marca concentrates on Valverde’s medal, ‘El hombre de bronce,’ again with colour photography and two full pages – if back on page 40.

Michal Kwiatkowski
Simon Gerrans, silver medallist. Photo©Ed Hood

AS too goes with Valverde, ‘La sexta de Valverde‘ – his fourth bronze and two silver medals take him two medals clear in the tables of seven riders on four podiums: Freire, Binda, Van Steenbergen, Lemond, Van Looy, Darrigade and Poulidor.

Albeit all of them save Poulidor won the race at least once.

Michal Kwiatkowski
Ale Valverde has an amazing record at the Worlds. Photo©Ed Hood

AS gives us two colour pages and lots more stats, Germany top the medal table with three gold and two silvers; GB is in joint seventh place thanks to Brad’s gold.

The home nation is down in equal 14th spot with Belgium on one bronze.

Michal Kwiatkowski
The break got upwards of a quarter of a hour. Photo©Ed Hood

The race was a good one; you have to accept that there will be an early break and nothing much doing ’til someone decides to chase.

That someone was Kwiatkowski, deploying his fearsome looking red and white striped legion to ride down the break.

Michal Kwiatkowski
The Polish team set to work for MK. Photo©Ed Hood

It was reminiscent of Plouay in 2000 when the Poles rode brilliantly all day for Spruch only for Latvia’s Vainsteins to pip him on the line.

Michal Kwiatkowski
Now it’s the Italians’ turn. Photo©Ed Hood

Then the Italians took it up with four to go, causing havoc but instead of helping ride down the late break of four with their own De Marchi in it they should have given his head – he’s big strong, aggressive and smart.

He had at least a one in four chance of a medal; instead they came away with nothing – a best of 13th from Colbrelli.

De Marchi’s face at the finish told a story.

Michal Kwiatkowski
De Marchi led a final, frustrating attack. Photo©Ed Hood
Michal Kwiatkowski
The Italian team is always strong at the Worlds, but didn’t get it right this time. Photo©Ed Hood
Michal Kwiatkowski
Sonny Colbrelli, Italy’s best finisher, in 13th. Photo©Ed Hood

GB’s best was Ben Swift in 12th, not a bad ride – but as Viktor says, in terms of the team’s budget and ambitions, a failure.

Peter Kennaugh had good legs but was too active, too early – but he wasn’t over awed by the occasion or opposition and has the potential to be a strong Classics rider.

Michal Kwiatkowski
Peter Kennaugh rode tremendously well at the head of the race. Photo©Ed Hood

The Belgian team’s late tactic was confusing – first Van Avermaet was working for Gilbert then that seemed to reverse in the finale.

They took fifth and seventh respectively – strong but not good enough for the Belgian Media, I’ll wager.

Michal Kwiatkowski
Tom Boonen, looking tired and over a minute back in 49th place. Photo©Ed Hood

I didn’t name Kwiatkowski in my race preview but did manage to tag 10 of the first 14 and the Pole, Breschel in fourth spot (for which AS awards him a chocolate medal) and Gallopin in sixth weren’t surprises.

I’d thought that the Pole was ‘off the boil’ after a lot of early success – two stages and the GC in the Volta ao Algarve, the Strada Bianche, second on GC in the Pais Vasco, fifth in the Amstel, third in the Fleche and Liege, the Romandie prologue and the Polish TT champs.

A great season even before you mention the Worlds where he went home with a bronze from the TTT as well as his road race gold.

Credit to Viktor, he said that whatever happened in Ponferrada, a QuickStep would win – he fancied Bakelants (eventual 48th) but his prediction was correct.

Here’s what the Omega Pharma Quick Step team’s press release says;

“The Polish rider’s victory is the 65th (63rd road) overall for OPQS, in three disciplines (track/cyclocross), in 2014.

“He is also the first Polish rider in UCI history to win Elite road gold, and only the third in OPQS history to earn the rainbow jersey on the road after Tom Boonen in 2005, and Paolo Bettini in 2006 and 2007.

“OPQS also won the 2014 bronze medal in the TTT event, and silver in the ITT with Tony Martin.”

Our man with his finger on the Belgian pulse, Ivan has been checking out what QuickStep team boss, Patrick Lefevre has to say;

“Lefevre says he tested Sagan and Kwiata in 2008 as juniors; he’ll try to keep MK away from the Tour GC battle for a couple of years.

“He says that Poles generally like to earn good money and MK knows that Tour winners get lots of it!

“But Lefevre thinks he can’t win the Tour unless he loses maybe seven kg. Lefevre thinks that it’s stupid to concentrate on the Tour at 24 years old.

“Kwiatkowski has a QuickStep contract for 2015 and will ask for a big wage rise to sign for longer.

“Lefevre is delighted and happy to pay and also said he expects Kwiata to have a longer and better career than Sagan.

“Sagan is past his best now according to Lefevre . . .”

The Slovak’s star certainly hasn’t shone as brightly this year; he was well off the pace here – however you have to think that Big Bjarne will knock him back into top shape for 2015.

Michal Kwiatkowski
Commonwealth Games Champion Geraint Thomas was a team worked this time. Photo©Ed Hood

It’s noon now on Monday, the day after and we’re in Ataquines en route Madrid – ‘sleepy’ doesn’t do the wee place justice but the cafés con leche did the trick.

Another Worlds has been won and lost; I don’t know if I’ll make it the US for the 2015 Worlds but I sure hope so …

Michal Kwiatkowski
Adam Hansen has had a long season. Photo©Ed Hood

Result - World Road Race Championships, Elite Men

Full Result

1 Michal Kwiatkowski (Poland) 6:29:07
2 Simon Gerrans (Australia) 0:00:01
3 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spain)
4 Matti Breschel (Denmark)
5 Greg Van Avermaet (Belgium)
6 Tony Gallopin (France)
7 Philippe Gilbert (Belgium) 0:00:04
8 Alexander Kristoff (Norway) 0:00:07
9 John Degenkolb (Germany)
10 Nacer Bouhanni (France)
11 Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland)
12 Ben Swift (Great Britain)
13 Sonny Colbrelli (Italy)
14 Michael Matthews (Australia)
15 Ramunas Navardauskas (Lithuania)
16 Daryl Impey (South Africa)
17 Maciej Paterski (Poland)
18 Bauke Mollema (Netherlands)
19 Warren Barguil (France)
20 Michael Valgren Andersen (Denmark)
21 Daniele Bennati (Italy)
22 Tom Dumoulin (Netherlands)
23 Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Portugal)
24 Jon Izaguirre Insausti (Spain)
25 Brent Bookwalter (United States Of America)
26 Nicolas Roche (Ireland)
27 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Colombia)
28 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Norway)
29 Petr Vakoc (Czech Republic) 0:00:14
30 Alex Howes (United States Of America)
31 Chris Anker Sörensen (Denmark)
32 Giovanni Visconti (Italy)
33 Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spain) 0:00:17
34 Fabio Aru (Italy)
35 Yury Trofimov (Russian Federation)
36 Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spain)
37 Lars Petter Nordhaug (Norway)
38 Dominik Nerz (Germany) 0:00:21
39 Simon Geschke (Germany) 0:00:24
40 Vincenzo Nibali (Italy) 0:00:27
41 Giampaolo Caruso (Italy) 0:00:31
42 Grega Bole (Slovenia) 0:00:38
43 Peter Sagan (Slovakia) 0:00: