Michal Kwiatkowski at Lombardia
Il Lombardia: UCI World Road Champion Michal Kwiatkowski Meets With the Media. Discusses Rainbow Jersey, New Bike for First Time.
Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team rider Michal Kwiatkowski met with the media in anticipation of Il Lombardia on Saturday. For the first time he was able to talk about his rainbow jersey and Specialized bicycle. Kwiatkowski talked about his rainbow jersey, and Il Lombardia on Sunday, in the following comments.
On Il Lombardia After Winning Worlds
“Last week was completely new in my life,” Kwiatkowski said. “After winning the World Championship it was a bit difficult to focus in anticipation of Il Lombardia. But honestly, I’m the kind of person who never really wants to celebrate a victory and looks to the next races. I want to show respect to the rainbow jersey. It’s certainly a strange feeling in my head to be World Champion. I couldn’t believe it for a while. But I’m here to race with Omega Pharma – Quick-Step and I am excited to race this monument with my teammates.”
On His World Championship Victory
“I saw the victory on video, it was great, especially with Polish commentary,” Kwiatkowski said. “It was incredible to watch it. I didn’t cry, but I had a lot of emotions seeing that. I hope people enjoyed it, especially the Polish public who has supported me so much. On Monday after the race I went back home and I had a wonderful welcome at the Warsaw airport. I met a lot of fans. I said at that moment that I’m still focusing on the last race of my season, Il Lombardia, and I stayed home with my family and my girlfriend. I wanted to stay relaxed, which was not easy given the shock of being World Champion. But I could train in my hometown, and I arrived here on Friday happy with my calm week.”
On Seeing the Rainbow Jersey for the First Time
“Last night I saw the jersey and because of that I didn’t even sleep well, “ Kwiatkowski said. “I jumped on my bed once in the jersey, that was quite fun. I had the bikes next to me and everything. But I slept in my own pajamas after that. To be honest, I was thinking what I would look like today when I wear it at training. It’s an incredible feeling to have the rainbow jersey. I didn’t think about how it will be so visible and so nice. Especially with my Specialized bike, you can see it all on our team website. It is all put together seamlessly and I think it really honors the distinction as World Champion. I am proud of how it all came together.”
On Being Successful at a Young Age
“I think the last few years with OPQS I always improved,” Kwiatkowski said. “I made big steps forward, especially in the big races like the Ardennes Classics. I hope it will continue this way. Together with the team I am thinking about the next year, but at my age I think it is still important to focus on learning. I don’t have the same experience as other riders. It’s a learning process, even with the progress I showed in the Classics and winning the UCI World Road Championship.”
On His Il Lombardia Competitors
“Alberto Contador, Alejandro Valverde, Joaquim Rodriguez will for sure be big competitors at Il Lombardia,” Kwiatkowski said. “But it’s never a guarantee who can be a factor here. It’s always special to be a part of this race as it is never predictable. As for me, we will see what I can do. I didn’t plan the attack in the World Championship. I was just in the front and saw the opportunity to be there. In the end it was a good move, and tomorrow it’s going to be about who also can make a good move at the right time. You have to be flexible because anything can happen. I don’t have experience from this race as I was unable to finish twice so far. But with support of my teammates I hope to do better this year, and who knows, if there is an opportunity for me I will do my best as I did last week.”
On Team Support
“It’s a wonderful feeling to have your team and your sponsors working hard to celebrate big moments like this,” Kwiatkowski said. “I have to be honest. The high quality outfit provided by Vermarc is something I am so proud to wear. Specialized also deserves big thanks for what they did in a very short time with my bike. At first glance it’s not easy to understand that it’s the bike of the World Champion. But when you connect Flower Power, Polish guy, and World Champion stripes, you can close your eyes and easily imagine this incredible bike. The Specialized Tarmac has been designed especially for me by Specialized Road Bike Graphic Designer Ron. It’s unbelievable how everything looks just great together. The helmet goes perfectly with the rainbow jersey and this great bike as well. I am really happy for all of this, and everything combined gives me extra motivation. I really want to thank all the guys from Specialized for the extraordinary support they give me all the time, and Vermarc, and my team as well. OPQS put a special sticker on the team bus to congratulate and thank me, and it proves how great the atmosphere is on this team. I am so thankful to be with OPQS.”
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