Poels powers to Ruta lead

15 Feb 2018

Poels powers to Ruta lead

Wout Poels executed a perfectly-timed late attack to climb to victory on the summit finish of stage two of Ruta del Sol and take the overall lead.

Poels was part of an elite lead group which played cat-and-mouse on the final kilometre of the challenging Alto de Allanadas climb, trading attacks and counters until the Dutch rider was able to break free with 300m to go and take victory ahead of Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana) and Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal).

Chris Froome was also part of the front group and finished seventh, 27 seconds behind Poels, while David De La Cruz (+48”) and Philip Deignan (+48”) both secured top 20 finishes. 

Earlier, Team Sky had been one of a number of teams to work hard to bring back a stage-long breakaway that contained Diego Rubio (Burgos-BH), Alvaro Cuadros (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Przemyslaw Kasperkiewicz (Delko Marselle Provence KTM), Alexis Gougeard (Ag2r La Mondiale), Pascal Eenkhoorn (LottoNL-Jumbo), Aaron Verwilst (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise), Sho Hatsuyama (Nippo-Vini Fantini), Jeroen Meijers (Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij) and Enrique Sanz (Euskadi-Murias).

The numbers in the front group slowly dwindled as the pace of the peloton and gradient of the terrain increased, leaving Rubio the final rider to be caught in the final 3km despite having a one minute lead just a kilometre before. 

This kicked off a series of attacks from Jakob Fuglsang (Astana), Mikel Landa (Movistar) and Wellens, which Poels was able to cover and counter although he was pegged back. However, he bided his time and just under the 300m to go mark attacked again, and none of his rivals were able to follow suit.
Wout Poels

Wout Poels

With 300m to go I thought I had to go full-on now
Poels was happy with his performance and revealed that patience was key to his success.

He told TeamSky.com: “I was waiting for a good moment to attack when I bridged to Tim Wellens, and then everybody came back together 

“Then with 300m to go I thought I had to go full-on now as it wasn’t that steep, but I had enough speed to win.”

He continued: “I was not happy how I started the season in Valencia, but I did some good training afterwards and was happier with my performance here.

“The next couple of days are flatter so it will be important not to lose any seconds ahead of Sunday’s TT.”

Froome added: “We’ve got the leader’s jersey now with Wout, so we’ll do everything we can to keep it on his shoulders.”