Poels happy with progression despite bridesmaid role
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Monday, September 05, 2011

Poels happy with progression despite bridesmaid role

by Kyle Moore at 12:55 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Vuelta a España
 
Vacansoleil-DCM rider second to top of Angliru

Wout PoelsWout Poels (Vacansoleil-DCM) had perhaps his best day as a professional, performing as the second-best climber on one of Spain’s toughest ascents, and the young Dutchman finished second on stage 15 of the Vuelta a España. Juan Jose Cobo (Geox-TMC) won the stage and took the red leader’s jersey from Bradley Wiggins (Sky Procycling), and Poels rolled across ahead of Denis Menchov (Geox-TMC) and Christopher Froome (Sky Procycling).

For Poels, it was the fourth time this season that he has finished second on a hilly stage of a major race, and the second time in this Vuelta alone. At the top of the Angliru, he crossed the line with a shake of his head, but a quick pump of his fist.

“I saw these two stages as a great challenge,” he said aftewards. “My ambition was to have a few top tens in mountain stages. I have succeeded. My Tour of Spain has actually been good,” he remarked, looking beyond his continuous runner-up finishes.

“I knew I could go well uphill, but it is nice to do it among the world’s leaders,” Poels said. “That bodes well for the future.”

After losing time earlier in the race, Poels has made his way to tenth place overall. While he has shown climbing potential all season, his performance on the Angliru has everyone surprised, including Poels himself. “At one point, I rode alongside Denis Menchov,” he marvelled. “I realized that it was just a few years ago that I looked up to him. I just got a smile on my face.”

“It is unfortunate that I lost time in the first stages because of problems adjusting to the heat. But in recent days, it has been great.”

On the upper slopes of the climb, the situation was constantly precarious with swarming crowds at the steepest points, where rider speeds were low. While it looked like some of the crowd may have had a negative impact on the racing, Poels enjoyed the frenzy.

“I had only seen that on TV before,” he said. “It was very cool, to see the people [in front] just before they move to the side.”

Poels has one week of the Vuelta a España remaining to try and attack the remaining medium mountain stages, and to go one better than his most common stage placing this season.

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