Tirreno-Adriatico – Dutch Surprise by Wout Poels


Dutch Surprise by Wout Poels as he wins stage and takes leaders jersey; Brits Steve Cummings now third overall and Adam Yates 11th

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Tirreno-Adriatico – Dutch Surprise by Wout Poels

Dutchman Wout Poels (team Sky) stormed to a classy solo victory on stage four at Tirreno-Adriatico and moved himself into the race lead. The Dutchman launched a perfectly timed attack over the top of the Crispiero climb and rode clear of a quality group of contenders to win the stage by 14 seconds. That was enough to hand the 27-year-old the Maglia Azzurra and a 17-second overall lead with three stages to go.

Tirreno-Adriatico Poels

Rigoberto Uran (Etixx-Quick-Step) led home a reduced peloton in Castelraimondo, out-sprinting Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) for the remaining bonus seconds.

After taking the biggest win of his career Poels told TeamSky.com: “It was a really nice attack and a great way to take the victory. I’m really happy. It’s awesome to take the victory on a stage like this, and against riders like that, as well as taking the jersey. I’ve worked really hard with the team this winter and also training at altitude with Froomey. I really like this race and I always seem to go well here.”

Looking ahead to Sunday’s queen stage, Poels is up for the challenge and ready to defend his newly acquired jersey. “I’m in good shape and I like climbing so I don’t care how long the climb is. I feel good and we’ve got a good team here. We’ll see what happens.”

The longest stage of the race burst into life late on with a tricky finale. Earlier fans were treated to the unusual sight of two Orica-GreenEdge riders heading up the road. Luke Durbridge and Mathew Hayman combined to create a powerful and focused partnership. The Aussie duo saw their advantage pegged at around the seven-minute mark but both men crashed and were finally caught heading into the final 20km.

Michele Scarponi (Astana), Julian Arredondo (Trek Factory Racing) and Giovanni Visconti (Movistar) attacked first time over the Crispiero, and were joined by Daniel Moreno (Katusha) in a dangerous quartet. The pace rose in the bunch but with 10km remaining the race came back together after Tinkoff-Saxo chased it down. That set the scene for the final climb and with overnight leader Greg van Avermaet (BMC Racing) in difficulties Poels took his opportunity with both hands and grabbed a memorable victory.

Former Sky rider Rigoberto Uran, second, said afterwards “First of all congratulations to Wout Poels. He was really strong in the final kilometers and he deserved the victory. Concerning the other guys, in the second lap the riders for the GC in the group were focusing on controlling the race with each other, so Poels took advantage and he won the stage with a good tactic. As for myself, I have to say I am happy with my result. I felt good the entire day.”

“I sprinted to try and minimize the gap. Tomorrow the queen stage will probably decide the GC. I’m doing well in this Tirreno-Adriatico, so we will see what can happen. Then we will decide what will be our strategy for the final two days of the race.”

Third placed Rodriguez, (Katusha) said of the stage “The team tactics were perfect. On the first climb of Crispiero, Vicioso and later Moreno attacked just as we had planned. We wanted to make the race hard. The second ascent, six km from the finish, Losada was present and Caruso attacked. I just had to keep an eye on Nairo Quintana and Alberto Contador.”

“It’s a pity that Poels managed to get away, but it was a strong move from him. Already before the stage I saw him as a potential winner of today. He impressed me already in the past in País Vasco and his explosiveness is his strong point. Without Poels we could have won as we really have the team here to do that, so it is a pity but I am not unhappy after the unlucky year I had in 2014.”

“It is the first time in a long time that I feel like a rider again. This climb of Crispiero was also a good test for us as we near the classics. We did not win, but we leave the stage with a good feeling, – said team leader Joaquim Rodriguez.

1. Wouter Poels, Team Sky 5:53:38
2. Rigoberto Uran, Etixx – Quick-Step 0:00:14
3. Joaquim Rodriguez, Team Katusha
4. Alexis Vuillermoz, AG2R La Mondiale
5. Rinaldo Nocentini, AG2R La Mondiale
6. Roman Kreuziger, Tinkoff-Saxo
7. Giampaolo Caruso, Team Katusha
8. Nairo Quintana, Movistar Team
9. Jurgen Van Den Broeck, Lotto Soudal
10. Adam Yates, Orica GreenEdge

11. Alberto Contador, Tinkoff-Saxo
15. Daniel Martin, Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team
19. Stephen Cummings, MTN – Qhubeka 0:00:21
21. Vincenzo Nibali, Astana Pro Team
26. Peter Sagan, Tinkoff-Saxo 0:00:37
27. Edvald Boasson Hagen, MTN – Qhubeka 0:00:43
111. Ian Stannard, Team Sky 13.41
159. Mark Cavendish, Etixx – Quick-Step 23.04
169. Elia Viviani, Team Sky 0:24:33

1 Wouter Poels, Team Sky 14:28:18
2 Rigoberto Uran, Etixx – Quick-Step 0:00:17
3 Stephen Cummings, MTN – Qhubeka 0:00:26
4 Thibaut Pinot, FDJ.fr
5 Roman Kreuziger, Tinkoff-Saxo 0:00:27
6 Jonathan Castroviejo, Movistar Team 0:00:28
7 Bauke Mollema, Trek Factory Racing
8 Peter Sagan, Tinkoff-Saxo 0:00:30
9 Vincenzo Nibali, Astana Pro Team 0:00:31
10 Alberto Contador, Tinkoff-Saxo 0:00:32
11 Adam Yates, Orica GreenEdge 0:00:33

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