After Michal Kwiatkowski's gold medal in the world championship road race I look at whether he has what it takes to challenge in the Grand Tours?
Kwiatkowski was very impressive during the road race and in my opinion he deserved to win it because he timed his late attack to perfection and no one was able to respond.
The world championship gold medal has topped off an excellent season for the Polish rider and I believe he is definitely one to watch in future races.
This year he won the Polish national time trial championships as well as winning the Volta ao Algarve. He also came second overall in the Tour of Britain and managed to win one of the stages.
With Kwiatkowski wearing the rainbow bands throughout next season I think he will have a lot of confidence in the big races and I believe he has a chance of potentially winning a Grand Tour.
He has all the attributes to win one of the major race because he is a good tactician as seen in the World Championships, he is a good climber as well being an excellent time trialist.
One thing that could hold him back though from winning a Grand Tour is his team. Although as a team Omega Pharma-QuickStep are good they don't have the depth of squads that teams like Sky and Tinkoff-Saxo do.
When the top riders of the other teams are struggling on climbs they always have someone there who can push them along or even go on ahead, for example Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins. Both these risers are as good as each other meaning they can push harder. OPQS do not have that.
People to Beat
There are five riders that Kwiatkowski will need to compete with if he is going to win one of the big races and these riders are: Froome, Alberto Contador, Nairo Quintana, Vincenzo Nibali and Alejandro Valverde.
I think Kwiatkowski is better at time trials than Quintana, Nibali and Valverde so if he is looking for time bonuses he could get some here.
The 24-year-old can challenge all these riders but he will have to be on top form if he is going to beat them and that is the problem. He has what it takes but he needs to sustain it for three weeks if he is going to win a Grand Tour.
After an impressive couple of seasons I would like to see Kwiatkowski challenging for the leader's jersey in the Tour de France, Giro d'Italia or Vuelta a Espana.
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