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"I think we proved that we are the number one team as we were still up there with full support even without our number one leader. And to still be up there riding for GC with a rider who is normally in a supporting role is quite impres...

Photo: ANSA / DAL ZENNARO - PERI

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TIRRENO - ADRIATICO

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15.03.2015 @ 18:05 Posted by Andy Pedersen

Wout Poels put up a valiant defence of the leader’s jersey at Tirreno-Adriatico but dropped to 10th place overall following the queen stage. The riders emerged through a blizzard following a showdown on the tough Terminillo climb which saw the general classification turned on its head.

 

Poels crossed the line one minute and 36 seconds back on the day’s winner Nairo Quintana as some of the best stage racers in the world attacked one another on the summit finish. Quintana (Movistar) made his move early with 4.8km to go and distanced his nearest rivals to the tune of 41 seconds at the snow-covered finish.

 

Bauke Mollema (Trek Factory Racing) came closest to the Colombian, taking second on the day, while Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha) led home a group of chasers a further 14 seconds back. Team Sky set the pace for much of the stage and it was the pairing of Vasil Kiryienka and Kanstantsin Siutsou who took it up as the race reached the foot of the fearsome ascent. Poels slipped back under a barrage of attacks and was flanked by Mikel Nieve at the finish.

 

A rousing solo victory 24 hours early meant the Dutchman still remains in touch amid a tight general classification battle, 1:13 back on Quintana with two stages remaining.

 

Sports director Dario Cioni described the day:

 

“Wout was up there against the best riders today. I think we proved that we are the number one team as we were still up there with full support even without our number one leader. And to still be up there riding for GC with a rider who is normally in a supporting role is quite impressive.

 

“Obviously when you are in position and you lose the jersey you are a bit upset, but in the end Wout gave his maximum. That’s the most important thing. It’s tight on the GC and if we could manage to move up a couple of positions it would be nice.

 

“It was quite close to the limit today in terms of conditions. On a day like this anything can happen. When it’s this cold the result at the finish line is not always the same as the legs”

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