Michal Kwiatkowski keen to end illness and injury-plagued season
By Matt Westby
Last Updated: 21/10/16 6:48pm
Michal Kwiatkowski is looking forward to bringing an illness and injury-ravaged 2016 season to a close and has already begun setting goals for next year.
The 26-year-old Pole had hoped to flourish in the three Ardennes Classics and then the Tour de France after joining Team Sky from Etixx - Quick-Step last winter.
He won the E3 Harelbeke one-day cobbled Classic in March, but bouts of illness decimated his Ardennes campaign in April and also led to him being overlooked for the Tour.
A difficult year was then compounded when a back injury forced him to abandon the Vuelta a Espana only seven days in.
Speaking at the Abu Dhabi Tour, where he is racing this week, Kwiatkowski told Sky Sports: "I'm happy that the season is almost over.
"I had a great beginning but then I was sick a couple of times and I struggled to be in a good shape.
"I had to skip [the Volta ao] Algarve with a stomach problem, and then I had another stomach problem, and then I had an infection, and then a back injury in the Vuelta, and so once I was almost back on my level I had to stop again.
"I'm looking forward and focused on the new season now. I want to have a better season, that is for sure, but I will stay calm and not rush anything. I don't want to be chasing results."
Kwiatkowski, who is riding in Abu Dhabi in order to boost his number of race days this season, is yet to draw up his schedule for 2017 but hopes to follow a similar plan to 2016.
Despite his E3 Harelbeke win, he still sees himself as an Ardennes specialist and is unlikely to switch his attention to other cobbled Classics, such as the Tour of Flanders.
The 2014 world champion added: "Every year I'm targeting the Ardennes, but with the problems I had I wasn't at the top level this year. Next season I will go for them again, but the season is going to be a bit different with all the different WorldTour races and we have to sit down together with coaches, sports directors and think about what is best.
"I may target a couple of cobbled Classics, but not all of them. They may be good preparation.
"I would love to ride the Grand Tours. I had the chance to ride next to Chris [Froome] in the Vuelta, but it wasn't my main target. My main target was to go for the Tour de France, which didn't happen, but let's hope I will be able to compete on the highest level next year in July."
There's something for everyone on Sky Sports Mix this weekend. Live F1 on Friday, Bournemouth v Spurs on Saturday, while on Sunday you can watch Feyenoord v Ajax, Red Bull 3x3 Basketball and NFL RedZone.