Poels sixth on Guangxi queen stage

22 Oct 2017

Poels sixth on Guangxi queen stage

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Wout Poels battled to sixth place at the end of the Tour of Guagnxi’s punchy queen stage.

All GC eyes have been fixed on the finale to stage four since the race route was announced and as predicted the three kilometre climb was hard enough to cause several splits in the bunch and create a clear hierarchy on the leaderboard.

Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) escaped on the explosive climb to Mashan Nongla to take the win and race lead. Poels finished 12 seconds back on the Belgian and is now seventh overall, 22 seconds down. Mikel Landa finished 42 seconds back in 17th.

Speaking to TeamSky.com after the stage, Poels was typically upbeat.

He said: "The climb was quite short - 3km more or less, and it was straight away full gas. After 1km I think I might have done a little bit too much, so I couldn't follow the move of [Bauke] Mollema, Wellens and [Nicolas] Roche.

"Afterwards I found my rhythm better, but it's always difficult to do that on such a short climb when you're going full gas. In the end it was OK.

"When I'm in really top, top shape that kind of climb could suit me better, but not today. Also the stage was flat all day - super fast, so everybody was quite fresh for the finale."
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Brett Lancaster

Brett Lancaster

We did all we could.
Sport Director Brett Lancaster told TeamSky.com that the climb didn’t necessarily suit Poels, but the team did a solid job of setting the Dutchman up for the testing ascent.

He said: “We tried to make it as hard as possible to put [Fernando] Gaviria in trouble, plus the climb was actually shorter than what they originally said - we expected it to be 4.7km, but it was only 3km. Ivan [Millan, Team Sky mechanic] fed that back to us from up the road so we were aware of that coming into it.

“The guys really poured it on coming into the climb to try to get the non-climbers into difficulty because the climb was so short - they did their job. We did all we could. It just wasn’t long or hard enough for Wout, and there’s not much we can do about that. He gave it his best.”

There’s two stages to come in China, including the longest of the race: tomorrow’s 212km effort to Guilin.

“Tomorrow is a very long, lumpy day,” continued Lancaster, “but I think it will be a bunch sprint still, just like the last day.

“I’ll keep pushing the boys as hard as I can and hopefully we’ll pull something off.”
Stage four result:

1. Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) 3:23:18
2. Bauke Mollema (Trek Segafredo) s.t.
3. Nicolas Roche (BMC) +4"
4. Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) +6"
5. Ben Hermans (BMC) +6"
6. Wout Poels (Team Sky) +12"

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