The Pole clocked a competitive time across the 10-kilometre course in San Benedetto del Tronto, staying out of trouble despite a late downpour creating tricky conditions.
Kwiatkowski comfortably extended his lead out to 24 seconds over nearest rival Damiano Caruso (BMC Racing), and was happy to be joined on the podium by Geraint Thomas following a committed ride from the Welshman.
Thomas jumped up a place to third overall, 32 seconds back on his teammate, to cap off a superb day which saw a first ever victory for Team Sky at the ‘Race of Two Seas’.
Dry conditions greeted the early runners and helped Team Sky placed three riders in the top 10 on the stage. Jonathan Castroviejo registered the third quickest time, just eight seconds back on stage victor Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing). Gianni Moscon (5th) and Vasil Kiryienka (10th) demonstrated the team’s strength in depth after a hard week of racing.
After the podium celebrations Kwiatkowski paid tribute to his teammates and admitted a late rain shower had made for a few nervous moments prior to his time trial.
"It's been wonderful racing together with the boys from Team Sky. I'm happy me and G could finish on the podium. I know he had some back luck but at the end of the day we played it tactically really well. It was a really good race, straight from the start in the team time trial. I had really good feelings on the final time trial which was important. It was nervy from my point of view and when I was warming up on the KICKR it started raining. It was scary as anything could happen. In the end it was a good day.
"I'm getting older so let's hope I can keep on progressing. I'm working a lot on my time trialling and climbing and that allows me to make better results at stage races. I signed for Team Sky which is built around riders who can go for overall GC victories. I'm managing to keep up and that's great."
Attention now quickly turns to Saturday's Milan-San Remo, which will see Kwiatkowski line up as defending champion.
He added: "My motivation will be even bigger as I had some great feelings here. I just need to recover. I will spend three days at home and I will be ready to ride on from Milano to San Remo for 300 kilometres."
After the stage Thomas admitted that third place was a nice reward, but remained a bittersweet result in a race he had the legs to win.
He explained: “After the back luck on the mountain stage it’s nice to get back on the podium. It’s still bittersweet in a way, as when you’re in the position I was in you want to win. A lot of people have said ‘don’t worry, your hard work will pay off and your luck will change’ – but I still want to win this race. That’s the way it goes, but also you’ve got to put it into perspective. Finishing (stage five) where Michele Scarponi came from really brings it home. It is just a bike race.
“It’s been a good week for the team. Good job to Kwiato for finishing it off, and having us both on the podium is a nice way to finish.”
Stage seven result:
- Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing) 11:44
- Jos Van Emden (LottoNL-Jumbo) +4"
- Jonathan Castroviejo (Team Sky) +8"
- Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) s.t.
- Gianni Moscon (Team Sky) +12"
- Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) 25:32:56
- Damiano Caruso (BMC Racing) +24"
- Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) +32"
- Tiesj Benoot (Lotto Soudal) +1:06"
- Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) +1:10"