The Dutchman rode himself into contention on the steep Whinlatter Pass climb, dragging himself back to a trio of attackers before putting in an acceleration of his own to win the stage by two seconds.
That victory elevated Poels into second place overall, 17 seconds back on new race leader Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors). It was the Frenchman who proved to be Poels’ biggest threat on the first category climb, with an early increase of pace that put a number of riders into difficulties.
Vasil Kiryienka helped lay the foundations for victory by forcing his way into the day’s break. The Belarusian was part of a six-man move on the picturesque roads of the Lake District, which was only hauled back as the peloton arrived at the foot of the final climb.
After claiming a fourth stage victory and third summit finish win at the Tour of Britain, Poels said: "I’m really happy with that victory. I’ve done the Tour of Britain four times and each time I’ve won a stage, with three of them uphill. That’s not a bad average!
“[Positioning] was really important as it was getting quite narrow there and the team did a very good job of putting me in the front, and it’s especially good if you can finish it off. Jungels went really fast which was a little bit fast too for me. I couldn’t do that the whole climb, so I had to pace myself a bit and try to take him back at the end and do a good sprint."
With Poels now on the overall podium he admits it will be tough to reach the top step with the major climbs now complete.
He added: "It’s really nice to [move up on GC]. It’s going to be a hard fight now, with no more finishes uphill - everything is flat, but you never know so we’ll keep trying."