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“I know I’ve gained experience in the past at Amstel and the most difficult thing is trying to pace your effort on the Cauberg, which is always a crucial point in the race,”

Photo: A.S.O.

AMSTEL GOLD RACE

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MICHAL KWIATKOWSKI

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SOUDAL - QUICK STEP

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19.04.2015 @ 13:54 Posted by Joseph Doherty

Last year Michal Kwiatkowski confirmed his emergence as the next big hilly classics star when he finished in the top five of all three Ardennes classics. He says he is going in the right direction this year and hopes to win one of the races.

 

“With preparation, training, health, it’s all going well and in the right direction so I should be better, that’s my feeling,” said a relaxed looking Kwiatkowski. “There is always the feeling that you are good but you don’t have the chance to check how you are against other riders.”

 

With less racing so far at this point than he had last year, the 24-year-old Pole says he is in better condition than ever before.

 

“I had a more difficult year last year with Tirreno, and Milan-San Remo. The feeling before País Vasco was worse last year and then this year I haven’t that feeling so far. Until now, everything has gone well, I just crashed at San Remo and I have nothing really to complain about.”

 

He made the mistake in Amstel last year of jumping too early and that left him with nothing in the tank to respond when Philippe Gilbert made his race-winning move. Now he has the experience to gauge his effort on the Cauberg, with 4th and 5th in his last two outings.

 

“I know I’ve gained experience in the past at Amstel and the most difficult thing is trying to pace your effort on the Cauberg, which is always a crucial point in the race,” he explained. “They say that there will be a tailwind on the Cauberg, so that is good for the rider that is alone on the top of the climb… It means that there is a bigger chance of arriving solo to the finish which is always good. The Cauberg is more important than the 1.8 kilometres to the finish afterwards.”

 

“You have to be flexible. Ninety per cent of the final is decided by the Cauberg now so you need to be mentally ready for that effort but you need to be in the right place on the climbs before,” Kwiatkowski said.

 

Only three World Champions have ever taken victory at Amstel in the year of their reign, even Gilbert couldn’t do it. If Kwiatkowski were to pull it off on Sunday he would join a club that includes some illustrious company in Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and race record holder Jan Raas.

“Not so many and really big names. It’s difficult to do it,” Kwiatkowski stated when the list of names was put before him. “It would be an amazing feeling to cross the finish line with the rainbow stripes, especially when you are aiming for the races and the Ardennes are your goal. You can realise your goals and that makes it even better.”

 

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