Poels hoping for bigger role after Liege win

Wout Poels became the first Sky rider to stand on the top step of the podium in a monument classic Sunday at Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

ANS, Belgium (AFP) — Wout Poels believes his position in Team Sky will change after having won Sunday’s Liège-Bastogne-Liège, the fourth monument classic of the season.

Poels outsprinted Michael Albasini (Orica – GreenEdge) and Rui Costa (Lampre – Merida) at the end of the grueling 248kilometer race through the Ardennes in freezing conditions with snow, hail, and rain.

He led Sky to the British team’s first ever Monument victory, and now Poels expects his star to rise within the squad.

“It’s a key moment. I was already doing really good for my position inside the team,” said the 28-year-old Dutchman.

“For the next few races it won’t change a lot, I will go to the Tour to work for Chris [Froome] again.

“But for next year in the classics I’ll have a little bit of a different position, so that’s a good thing.”

The Liège finale was altered slightly from previous years, with a steep 600m cobbled climb introduced roughly 2.5km from the line.

That was where Albasini attacked with only Poels, Costa, and BMC’s Samuel Sanchez able to follow.

“We went on the new cobbled climb so I like that one: they can keep that
one!” joked Poels.

“We had a really nice gap. I looked at the others and they were also looking strong,” he said. “I knew there was a long drag to the finish which after 250km is tough.

“I did a little dig [in the final kilometer] but not a strong one.

“I was a little afraid the bunch would come back but we had enough.

“I just went full (gas) in the last 250-meters to see what happens and nobody came any more. It was a really nice feeling.”

It was also a crucial win for Sky, which had never before mastered any of the five monument classics despite having won three Tour de France titles in just six years of existence.

“It’s also really important for the team to win a really nice classic,” Poels said. “I think the team is also really happy with it. It’s really nice when you win races, no matter where.

“The good thing is to show we can do the classics as well as grand tours.”

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