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"We had options for the sprint, but we weren't going to chase Wout down, especially as we think he can do well on the GC.”





25.08.2015 @ 21:43 Posted by Andy Pedersen

Wout Poels went on the attack on the opening stage of the Tour du Poitou-Charentes, and ended the day in fourth place after Arnaud Gérard had escaped to victory.


Poels infiltrated a 12-man move in the closing stages after his team-mates had worked hard to set him up, but it was Gérard (Bretagne-Séché Environnement) who stole the show by slipping clear in the last two kilometres and then holding off his pursuers to triumph by a five-second margin.


Maxime Daniel (AG2R) took second place on the standings, with Sep Vanmarcke (Lotto NL-Jumbo) four seconds behind him and Poels a further four seconds off the pace.


The action had taken the riders 187km from Rochefort to Barbezieux, and Team Sky took control of proceedings in the final hour of action to haul back a number of late moves after an initial four-man breakaway had been swept up.


Frédéric Brun(Bretagne-Séché Environnement), Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx – Quick-Step) and Daniel Teklehaimanot (MTN-Qhubeka) all tried their hand on a fast finishing circuit, but Poels helped establish the first decisive move which saw a dozen riders move clear on the final climb.


That group stayed ahead of the peloton, but Gérard caught everyone by surprise when he fired off the front with the flamme rouge in sight and the Frenchman had enough left in the tank to seal his first win of the season.


Sports Director Nicolas Portal was pleased with Poels's performance, and felt it exemplified Team Sky's opportunistic approach to the race.


He told "Everybody worked hard today, and the fact that all the WorldTour teams were represented in Wout's move helped them stay away as it meant only the smaller teams would chase. We had options for the sprint, but we weren't going to chase Wout down, especially as we think he can do well on the GC.


"We have lots of cards to play here actually, and that makes a nice change as a lot of the time at Team Sky we are focused solely on one goal. We'll try to do something again tomorrow. On paper it should be a bunch sprint, but that said, so was today. The mix of teams here makes for an open race, and things are a lot less controlled.”


"That said, the sprint teams will be looking to make amends as they missed an opportunity here, and we'll have Ben [Swift] ready to go if that happens."



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