Tour de France stage winner Kwiatkowski in five facts

La Roche-sur-Foron (France) (AFP) –

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Michal Kwiatkowski won stage 18 of the Tour de France on Thursday as his win gave Britain's Team Ineos something to smile about after a series of misfortunes scuppered their attemps for a sixth straight overall victory.

Here AFP Sport looks at five facts on the Polish all-rounder who has often operated in the shadow of the men he has helped to their title.

World champion

Kwiatkowski first shot to attention winning 2014's world road race title in Spain by distancing Australia's Simon Gerrans and local talent Alejandro Valverde.

Junior time trial champion

He had previously also won junior world titles in the time-trial category with wins in both 2007 and 2008 before developing into the Grand Tour stalwart he is today.

One-day success

Before his time at Sky and then Ineos Kwiatkowski was based in Belgium with one-day specialists Quick-Step. He has six one-day classic wins to his name including three in 2017 when he won the Amstel Gold, the Strade Bianchi and the Milan-San Remo, where he edged Peter Sagan and Julian Alaphilippe in a three-way cat-and-mouse finale.

Tour de France veteran

Having turned 30 in June the recently married Kwiatkowski has raced the Tour on six occasions, and has been an ever present on the Grande Boucle since joining Dave Brailsford's outfit in 2016.

Recovery

A key mountain 'domestique' in Egan Bernal's 2019 Tour de France triumph Kwiatkowski told AFP he was on his knees afterwards, cancelling much of his late season programme. On Thursday he said at the finish line he had "the best legs ever" as he claimed his first Tour stage win.