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“It is what it is. I can’t change anything now… I’m really disappointed but that’s racing. I think it’s my own fault because I slipped away and went a little bit to fast. It’s a new experience to l...





10.10.2015 @ 18:17 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Wout Poels put in a rousing performance on the stage three summit finish at Abu Dhabi Tour before crashing out of a leading position on the final corner.


In scenes reminiscent of his queen stage victory at the Tour of Britain, the Dutchman clawed back a margin of over 20 seconds to rival Esteban Chaves on the Jebel Hafeet climb, catching the Orica-GreenEdge rider inside the final kilometre and accelerating hard to lead out the sprint.


Poels skidded out on the final uphill left-hand corner to hand victory and the race lead to Chaves. Remounting, the Team Sky rider was unable to clip back in and was forced to roll across the line propelled by his left leg, dropping a further place and finishing third.


As expected there were a number of attacks on the striking summit finish, with first Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), then Chaves jumping clear. A determined Poels responded to the moves, and eventually pushed clear of Fabio Aru (Astana) to go off in chase of Chaves.


The Colombian avoided Poels' fall to move into a 12 seconds race lead over Aru, with Poels coming home 21 seconds back, still comfortably ensuring a podium position heading into the final day.


Leopold König joined his team-mate in an elite group on the climb and held on for eighth place on the day. That result saw the Czech climber move up to sixth place overall, 1:29 back.


After his stage two sprint victory Elia Viviani began the day as race leader in the red jersey. With Team Sky working to help control the race the Italian was also in prime position to add to his points haul at the final intermediate sprint, taking third over the line. The Italian now sits one point back in the battle for the green points jersey.



Two riders - Alessandro Bazzana (UnitedHealthcare) and Rafaa Chtioui (Skydive Dubai) - had made tracks early on the way out of Al Ain but were caught as Astana took it up on the final climb.


With the tantalising view of Chaves up the road Poels never gave up and despite the energy sapping heat he was able to overhaul his closest rival, only to go down in sight of the finish.


“It is what it is. I can’t change anything now…” Poels told Cyclingnews. “I’m really disappointed but that’s racing. I think it’s my own fault because I slipped away and went a little bit to fast. It’s a new experience to lose a race so close to the finish.


“I knew the corner was tight after the team meeting, that’s why I was on the front. “When you’re normally first into the corner, they can’t usually pass you. I knew it was a sharp one but I didn’t realise it was that sharp…


"I caught him on the last part of the climb, just before the downhill section. I knew he was very tired, so I sprinted on the final rise, but on the final bend I fell. I don't win a lot of race, and when you come so close... What can I say? That's cycling."



After the stage Sport Director Dario Cioni was full of praise for the way the team set up Poels heading onto the final climb, and explained how heat played a factor on the summit finish.


"We executed what we had spoken about to perfection today," he confirmed. "Wout did a great job but he just took a bit too much speed into the last corner. He knew that it was a tight corner that turned around pretty hard but he thought the tarmac would be more grippy. As it turned out it was actually quite slippy.

"We had spoken about the heat and the conditions. If someone went for an early attack on the climb they would probably pay for it towards the end. I think that is probably what happened with Nibali and Valverde who opened up the game with their attacks. We had spoken about leaving it pretty late and going all the way, making sure we didn't blow too early on the climb. It worked out well in that sense.

"Tomorrow will be about going for the win with Elia. If we can do that and the points jersey arrives then that is an extra bonus."




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