Tour De L’Ain: Second place again for Wout Poels
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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Tour De L’Ain: Second place again for Wout Poels

by Kyle Moore at 12:50 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Hard luck Dutchman gets first season win, runner-up overall

Wout PoelsWout Poels, in the middle of a breakout season with Vacansoleil-DCM, finished second overall to David Moncoutie (Cofidis) when the Tour De L’Ain concluded yesterday.  Though Poels did pick up his first win of the year in stage three of the race, he also notched another in a series of places just outside of the big money.  But the Dutchman remains optimistic as he prepares for the Vuelta a España.

The French tour, with a prologue and four hilly road stages, concluded with the 17 kilometer ascent of Le Grand Colombier.  Poels went into the last big climb of the final stage in the leader’s jersey, which he picked up after winning the mountainous stage three the day before.  He beat Pierre Rolland (Team Europcar) and Moncoutie to the top of an uphill finish in Lelex to secure his first win of the season.

On Le Grand Colombier, Moncoutie dropped the leader’s jersey with Thibaut Pinot (FdJ) as company, and the two had put over a minute into Poels by the time they reached the finish.  The Vacansoleil-DCM rider lost 1 minute and 5 seconds to Moncoutie and dropped to second overall.

It has been his best season to date, but the Dutchman has fought through a series of finishes just off the podium or just outside of victory.  On stage 5 of Tirreno-Adriatico, Poels had a clear path to the line before Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) snaked by on the barrier in the closing meters to narrowly edge out the Dutchman.

After dropping out of stage 9 in his debut Tour de France, Poels went to the Tour of Poland, where he was swept up by Daniel Martin (Garmin-Cervelo) just before the difficult finish of stage six.  The willowy 24-year-old finished just off the podium in Poland, sixteen seconds behind third-placed teammate Marco Marcato.

Looking back at the Tour De L’Ain, Poels could take solace in another second place.  “For me, the race was certainly a success, with a stage win, second place in the general classification, and the points jersey,” he admitted.

Poels was also second in the Tour De L’Ain last year, when he finished less than a second behind Haimar Zubeldia (Radioshack).  Going into this year’s final decisive climb, Poels had just a 28-second buffer on Moncoutie, and he indicated that he didn’t think it was enough going into the day.

“Of course it is unfortunate that I did not win.  But the 28 seconds that I had on Moncoutie seemed insufficient.”

With a plethora of good French climbers all pitted against him, Poels struggled with a barrage of attacks.  “That is a lesson for the next time I am in that situation,” he added.  “It is a tough situation and it is no disgrace to lose to Moncoutie in the mountains.”

Poels and Moncoutie will soon see each other again, as both are slated to start the Vuelta a España.


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