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Sky signs Kwiatkowski for 2016

Sky has tried and failed to sign the Polish standout before, but the third time proves to be the charm

RICHMOND, Virginia (AFP) — Michal Kwiatkowski will move from Etixx-Quick-Step to Team Sky for 2016, the British outfit announced on Sunday.

Confirmation came just hours before the Polish rider was to begin the defense of his crown in the concluding race of the UCI World Road Cycling Championships here.

The 25-year-old rider, who spent the past four seasons with Etixx, won the prestigious Amstel Gold Race earlier this year. He also took stage victories at Paris-Nice, the Tour de Romandie and Tirreno-Adriatico over the last couple of seasons.

But his biggest victory came at last year’s worlds, when he captured the rainbow jersey in impressive fashion with a late solo break on a downhill section.

“Team Sky aim for the highest goals in cycling so I’m very happy that this move has become a reality,” Kwiatkowski said. “I am excited and motivated to race for Team Sky next year.”

It wasn’t the time Sky had tried to recruit the Polish standout.

“Michal has performed fantastically well over the past couple of years,” Sky principal Dave Brailsford said. “We have been following his career for a long time. We have attempted to sign him on two occasions previously and weren’t going to miss out this time around.”

The move comes a day after Sky announced the signing of Spain’s Mikel Landa, who was third in this year’s Giro d’Italia. The team has also signed 2016 deals with Alex Peters, Gianni Moscon, Michal Golas, Danny van Poppel and Benat Intxausti.

Kwiatkowski said he expects to be a greater threat on Sky than when he rode for Etixx.

“I know that this team can help me raise my performance levels and win big races,” said Kwiatkowski.