Tag Archives: Michal Kwiatkowski

Bonjour! It Is Le Tour In Photos (1)

Bonjour! Here we are again, another year gone. The Tour de France has just begun and the riders entered France today. The race started in Germany, where thousands of people came out and cheered for the riders. Last Thursday, the riders were presented and on that day the biggest circus of the whole cycling year officially began. Three weeks Le Tour de France. Three weeks in photos.

These are the riders from Team Movistar. They are ready for another Tour de France. But first they have to present themselves to the German crowd. Hola!

Bauke Mollema from Team Trek – Segafredo tried to make a selfie with his team just before the team presentation, but it was teammate Koen ‘rockstar’ de Kort who stole the show in this picture.

While waiting for the team presentation Esteban Chaves from Orica-Scott thought about some new goals to achieve in this year’s Tour de France. Although no one is really expecting that he will make that goal…

The riders of Cofidis are ready for another Tour de France. The team received a wildcard again and with sprinter Nacer Bouhanni they hope for a win in one of the sprint stages.

Roy Curvers from Team Sunweb just before the team presentation. There is no way back now. Three weeks of sprints, rain, crashes, bad days, climbs and hopefully some good days for his team.

Meet the oldies of the Tour de France.  Daryl Impey (on the left) is ‘just’ 32, but Mathew Hayman is one of the oldest riders participating in the Tour the France this year. He is 39 and with all his experience he will be of good help for the young boys in his team Orica-Scott.

Michal Kwiatkowski thinks he can beat his teammate Chris Froome. He will be faster in the sprints, but I am not so sure about the climbs. He will definitely not beat him there.

Simon Yates has some news for us. He thinks that he can run faster than Chris Froome. Who does not remember the running of Froome in the Tour of last year? Lets all hope that none of the riders has to run on the climbs, because that was one of the most awkward moments in the history of the Tour de France.

Before the race starts, every rider gets his own number. Simon Clarke from Cannondale – Drapac is showing his numbers and seems pleased with it.

The race took off on the first of July. The Tour started with a time trial around Düsseldorf. It is the first Tour de France for Thomas Boudat. He is only 23 years old, but the team management of Direct Energie decided to let him start the biggest race of the season. He is very talented and also very excited.

This is another great story. Taylor Phinney crashed hard in the year 2014, recovered and is now riding his first Tour de France. With already a great time trial (12th place) on the first day, he went in the breakaway in the second stage and scored enough points for the polkadot jersey.

He took too many risks, Alejandro Valverde. The time trial was ridden in the rain and the roads were wet. In a corner he crashed hard and in a split second the Tour de France was over and out. No podium chances for Valverde this year and a long recovery ahead. At least he can still smile in his hospital bed.

The team Wanty-Groupe Gobert also received a wildcard for this year’s Tour de France. After the third stage they were the best overall team. They were all happy with the cute cows and were glad that these cuddle toys are present again this year.


Photos Amstel Gold Race 2017

Amstel Gold Race 2017 / 16 April / Maastricht-Vilt

The Amstel Gold Race always starts at the Grote Markt in Maastricht, a beautiful place in the south of the Netherlands. But this time the presentation on the podium was pretty special, because for the first time in years, the women were present too. A lot of classics have been added to the women’s calendar in the past years and this year the Amstel Gold Race was added as well. A lot of female riders were psyched about riding this race, because they had asked for it for so long. The winner of the women’s edition of the race was Anna van der Breggen.

The breakaway of the day consisted of 12 riders: Lars Boom (TLJ), Tim Ariesen (RNL), Stijn Vandenbergh (ALM), Pieter Vanspeybrouck (WGG), Kenneth Van Rooy (SVB), Nikita Stalnov (AST), Mads Würtz Schmidt (KAT), Michal Paluta (CCC), Brendan Canty (CDT), Johann van Zyl (DDD), Vincenzo Albanese (BAR) and Fabien Grellier (DEN). This group was able to stay away for almost 200 kilometres, but Team Sunweb, Lotto and BMC fought hard to get them back.

Then a new group was formed with Philippe Gilbert (QST), Michal Kwiatkowski (SKY), Sergio Henao (SKY), Michael Albasini (ORS), José Joaquím Rojas (MOV), Ion Izagirri (TBM), Nathan Haas (DDD) and Bert-Jan Lindeman (TLJ). At the Bemelerberg, Kwiatkowski and Gilbert were the ones who got away and got to fight for the victory. It was Philippe Gilbert who won the sprint à deux.

So the 52nd edition of the Amstel Gold Race was exciting to watch until the very end, where Philippe Gilbert managed to secure his fourth Amstel Gold Race victory. Gilbert also won this year’s Ronde van Vlaanderen, so this was already the second classic that he added to his palmares this year. Michael Albasini (ORS) became third and was a bit disappointed about his result, because he had hoped for a bunch sprint. Kwiatkowski wasn’t able to beat Gilbert in the sprint. “He fought and came back in those final metres. Gilbert is a champion, we must not forget that.” Unfortunately after the race it turned out that Gilbert had a serious kidney injury due to a crash and has to take some time off to recover.


Strade Bianche – An Instant Classic

7 March 2017

Sundays in April are saved for watching the classics. Some of us prefer Paris – Roubaix, while others like to watch Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Since a couple of years a one-day race in Italy is getting more and more popular. It’s the Strade Bianche. It is an Italian classic, held in the first or second weekend of March. The race takes place in Tuscany and contains more than 60 kilometres of white gravel roads. That is what makes the race a hard and difficult one and it is certainly one of the toughest races of the cycling season.

Beautiful views during the race / © Tim de Waele

The first edition was an recreational race held in 1997, only for vintage bikes. The race also had a different name: Monte Paschi Eroica. At a certain moment the organisation felt that it was a good idea to let professionals participate in this race too. So in 2007 the first race for professionals took place. In 2009 the name of the race was changed to Strade Bianche (in English white streets) and that is still the name of the race today. Right now, the race for professionals exists eleven years and has reached the status of ‘instant classic’. In the last couple of years it gets more media attention, thousands of Italian fans are on the roads to cheer for the riders and the riders are lyrical about it. Most of them have a big smile on their face at the start and that smile is still there when they finish the race. For example, in the last edition Peter Sagan was actually sick and not able to race, but he still started the race, stating that “Strade Bianche is a prestigious race”. Vincenzo Nibali crossed the finish without winning and still called it “happiness”, Tom Dumoulin’s reaction to the race was “boy oh boy, was that cool”, and he also never was able to win the race. It says enough about the popularity of the race among riders.

As of this year, the race is added to the UCI World Tour calendar. That means that the event can be seen as an important and prestigious race. It is becoming one of the biggest Spring Classics, even though the race is still young. But the beautiful environment of Tuscany, the dusty riders on the bike and the epic fights on the gravel roads make the race already monumental.

Michal Kwiatkowski (winner in 2014 and 2017) with Fabian Cancellara (winner in 2008, 2012 and 2016) / © Strade Bianche