Kwiatkowski, Vermote Go 1-2 at Driedaagse Van West-Vlaanderen
Michal Kwiatkowski set a blazing time of 08'00" on Friday, winning the 7km prologue time trial of Driedaagse Van West-Vlaanderen. He bested his teammate Julien Vermote's also impressive time of 08'04".
"It's the best day of my life," Kwiatkowski said. "I didn't expect to win today. I knew that I had the legs for a good result, maybe top five or top three, but not the victory. I'm over the moon. Everything went perfect. The approach to the race, the race itself and my great Specialized time trial machine. I really raced full gas. Now I really want to enjoy the first win of my career, I"ll never forget this moment. It repaid me for all the effort I did in the last weeks. I want to share this victory with all the people who have an important part in my life and of course this extraordinary team, a real band of brothers."
Guillaume Van Keirsbulck also took 6th, with a time of 08'10".
"The guys were really motivated at the start," Sports Director Rik Van Slycke said. "This morning we did a good training on our time trial bikes behind a scooter to speed up the legs for a short time trial as it was today. The parcours was flat and fast with a head wind in the last three kilometers. We really analyzed the parcours meters by meters. In general the team did an excellent performance. Michal is in great shape and he showed his skills. Even Vermote did a great job. Julien as the rest of the team worked a lot on his Specialized time trial bike and now his effort is repaid. Now we go into the next two stages trying to defend our leadership. we have three riders in the top six, so we can play with the tactics if we need to."
Kwiatkowski perhaps showed his strength earlier in the week when he went solo at Le Samyn until 5.2km remained. His speed was 52.5 kph on Friday.
"His condition was very good," Steels said. "He showed us he was really in good shape. He was already talking about the time trial for three months. I think he was really motivated to do well. He knew the course well, so he was really motivated to do it."
Vermote and Kwiatkowski were clearly the strongest riders of the day, as the third fastest time of Robert Thomas Wagner (Radioshack-Nissan) was 08'09". Van Keirsbulck finished less than a second slower than fourth and fifth place finishers Alex Rasmussen (Garmin-Barracuda) and Jesse Sergent (Radioshack-Nissan)
Kwiatkowski's victory is the 14th on the road for Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team, and 18th win between three cycling disciplines.
"We know we have a bunch of really good riders," Steels said. "Julien is good, Guillaume is one of the best promising young riders in Belgium and Michal in general, he's one of the best upcoming trialists. We are in good shape but also the guys from Specialized did a lot of work to put the guys good on the bike. Small things are what brings it together. It's just a good atmosphere, and that is also part of the success."