Tirreno-Adriatico 4: HUGE victory for Wout Poels!

Embedded image permalinkThe longest stage: from Indicatore to Castel Raimondo. Short steep climb in the finale.
81km to go Durbridge and Hayman have 5'58" on Haas who is trying to bridge and 6'58" on peloton.
Now Hayman goes solo, Durbridge gets dropped but follows and is finally back. 47 km to go they are 4'40" ahead of Haas and Quintero and 5'34" on the peloton. Haas and Quintero are quickly caught but Quintero is now leading the mountain classification. A compact peloton is chasing on high pace.
Always at the back, Betancur doesn't look fit. Sonny Colbrelli retired because sick, to not geopardise his Milano-Sanremo.
29.3km to go, 3’26” is the gap. Durbridge has got caught,  Hayman is leading the race solo with 2'46". TFR pulling, Cancellara in front with Arredondo on his wheel, Crispiero KOM approaching. Attacks are expected and...Vicioso attacks. Arredondo is ready to follow. Scarponi joins. Vicioso can't keep the pace and 24 km to go the trio go.
Behind many riders are dropped dropped, including Stybar. Van Avermaet is confortably in front. In the descent Dani Moreno attacks from the peloton and  joins. They fly in the descent but 10 km to go is gruppo compatto.
Embedded image permalinkThere we go: last ascent to Crispiero - 3 km long and 9% average gradient,  8 km to the finish. AG2R is pulling: Vuillermoz and Nocentini are setting an hellish pace for Pozzovivo. Poels looks strong. Van Avermaet is suffering, gets dropped.
And now Caruso attacks, Pozzovivo responds. Poels in conter and going solo: KOM! down the descenet! He has got a gap of 18" seconds. Last km, last meters: stage and jersy! HUGE victory!
Then a small group comes but Nibali crosses the line with a gap.

Wout Poels: 
“It was perfect timing. I was looking a little bit at some of the big riders like (Alberto) Contador and (Vincenzo) Nibali, but I felt I had the legs and thought maybe I’d attack over the top of the climb. Then you only have to do the downhill. It worked pretty good!
I’m in really good shape. I’m not afraid for the stage tomorrow and I’m looking forward to it in the leader’s jersey.”

Team Sky DS Dario Cioni:
"Wout did a great job. It was a perfect attack. We spoke ahead of the stage that if the guys felt good there was an opportunity to try something. We don't have Chris (Froome) here so guys like Wout could have a bit more of a free role as they are less marked. It's a tough stage tomorrow but so was today and he was the strongest. We'll throw everything behind him and give Wout our support."
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Rigoberto Uran:
"First of all congratulations to Wout Poels. He was really strong in the final kilometers and he deserved the victory. Concerning the other guys, in the second lap the riders for the GC in the group were focusing on controlling the race with each other, so Poels took advantage and he won the stage with a good tactic. As for myself, I have to say I am happy with my result. I felt good the entire day. I sprinted to try and minimize the gap. Tomorrow the queen stage will probably decide the GC. I'm doing well in this Tirreno-Adriatico, so we will see what can happen. Then we will decide what will be our strategy for the final two days of the race."

Greg van Avermaet
you can listen to his reaction here.

Alberto Contador crashed on the descent of the intermediate mountain pass of the stage:
“Yes, it was unfortunate. I was braking a little and I lost the wheel on the water. Luckily it is nothing, only a superficial wound on the right hip and knee. I hope to recover quickly from this tomorrow and do well on the Terminillo stage, which suits me much better than the climb we had today.  

The seconds that Poels gained are always very important in a race like Tirreno-Adriatico, but it all depends on what happens on tomorrow's stage. I think some of my rivals such as Nibali lost some seconds, but the final result will depend on what happens in both the Terminillo stage and in the final time trial. We'll see tomorrow how I feel”.

Bauke Mollema:
“It was planned for Julián to look for attacks, but I think it was a bit too early because it was a headwind for most of the climb and that is why they did not take too much timeIt was still 10k to the next time up, and yeah, I think it’s a bit of a pity - if you go the second time then you have more chance.
Poels is a strong guy on climbs like this and he made a strong attack. He was going pretty fast, there were a few corners and suddenly he was away.  He took 15 seconds pretty fast.”
It was a long stage and it was not too hard for the first 100k because there were only two guys in the break. But afterward, at 226k, then you start to see everyone getting tired. The last 50k were really tricky; it was always going up and down, lots of short climb and steep climbs in the finale.
I think we did a good job as a team so we started the steep climb with 20k to go with both me and Julián  in the front peloton. The guys allowed us to save as much energy as possible, and that was good. 
I was feeling ok, and I could follow the first 5-10 riders on the climb. It wasn’t easy of course, but I was not in trouble. I am feeling good and looking forward to tomorrow.”

Alexis Vuillermoz:
"This week I work for Domenico and Rinaldo. I set a good pace and we found us in front. I'm in shape after the Tour de San Luis, in spite I got a cold after the Haut Var. Tirreno is an hard race but we have got ambitions."

1 Wouter Poels (Ned) Team Sky 5:53:38
2 Rigoberto Urán (Col) Eitxx-QuickStep 0:14:00
3 Joaquin Rodríguez (Spa) Katusha
4 Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
5 Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R-La Mondiale
6 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff-Saxo
7 Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Katusha
8 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar
9 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto-Soudal
10 Adam Yates (GBr) Orica-GreenEdge
1 Wouter Poels (Ned) Team Sky 14:28:18
2 Rigoberto Urán (Col) Eitxx-QuickStep 0:00:17
3 Steven Cummings (GBr) MTN-Qhubeka 0:00:26
4 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ
5 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:00:27
6 Jonathan Castroviejo (Spa) Movistar 0:00:28
7 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek Factory Racing
8 Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:00:30
9 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana 0:00:31
10 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:00:32

Leader Wouter Poels (TEAM SKY)
Points Peter Sagan (TINKOFF SAXO)
Youth Thibaut Pinot (FDJ)
Mountain Carlos Quintero (COLOMBIA)

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