Poels comes close on Corkscrew

18 Jan 2019

Poels comes close on Corkscrew

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Tour Down Under stage four: Unley to Campbelltown, 129.2km

Wout Poels powered his way into an elite lead group on the Corkscrew Climb but saw his quartet caught late on stage four at Tour Down Under.
 
The Dutchman put in an acceleration with 6.4 kilometres to go, coaxing out three fellow general classification contenders on the famed climb. Going over the top alongside Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo), Rusty Woods (EF Education First-Drapac) and George Bennett (Team Jumbo-Visma), the group combined well but were swept up by a larger than normal bunch on the descent into Campbelltown.
 
The stage came down to a sprint, with Poels and teammate Dylan van Baarle mixing up it up among the 20-man group. Van Baarle bagged 10th position, with Poels four places further back. Both riders now sit 21 seconds back on the ochre jersey of Patrick Bevin (CCC Team). The Kiwi was able to claim more bonus seconds with second place, narrowly edged out by defending champion Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott).
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Rain drops will not have helped the nerves of the peloton ahead of the Gorge Road, but thankfully dry roads greeted the riders on the run-in. Team Sky hit the front with numbers, with Luke Rowe the final man to drop his teammates in a perfect position as the peloton made the left turn on to the climb.
 
Kenny Elissonde then set about upping the tempo, providing a platform for Poels to jump clear.
Wout Poels

Wout Poels

The team did an amazing job. Unfortunately we didn’t stay away but it’s always good for the confidence for Sunday.
Key moment

Poels’ attack looked like it might pay off but the climb was just a bit too short to carve out an advantage.

Reaction

Wout Poels -

"I was really happy with the feeling today and I was happy I could open the race (on the final climb). The team did an amazing job. Unfortunately we didn’t stay away but it’s always good for the confidence for Sunday. I’m looking forward to that one.
 
"I did (Willunga) only twice in training because it’s my first time over here. But I’ve watched the climb from the last few years on YouTube to see how Richie (Porte) was doing."
 
On race leader Bevin, Poels added: "He’s in really good shape. He’s already 21 seconds in front. Last year at the Tour of Britain I thought he was going really well. He’s a very strong rider so I’m not surprised.
 
"It’s going to be difficult on Willunga Hill so we’ll see. I plan to attack again and try to take some time and seconds. Today we were on the same level as we were together but there are a lot of guys making a strong impression."
Highlights
Tour Down Under stage 4 finish

Tour Down Under stage 4 finish

What's next?

The sprinters should return to the fore on the penultimate stage, yet the GC contenders can not afford to drop their guard along a number of exposed sections of coast road. The day should provide another chance for Kristoffer Halvorsen, with Sunday's Willunga Hill finale in the back of everyone's mind.

Stage four result
 
1. Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott) 3:03:27
2. Patrick Bevin (CCC Team) s.t.
3. Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana)
4. Ruben Guerreiro (Katusha-Alpecin)
5. Ruben Fernandez (Movistar)
10. Dylan van Baarle (Team Sky) 
14. Wout Poels (Team Sky) 
 
Overall standings
 
1. Patrick Bevin (CCC Team) 13:23:30
2. Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott) +7”
3. Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana) +11”
4. Chris Hamilton (Team Sunweb) +21”
5. Ryan Gibbons (Dimension Data) s.t.
11. Wout Poels (Team Sky) 

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