Wouter Poels (Vacansoleil-DCM) finished second on the uphill finish into Valdepeñas de Jaén on Wednesday but instead of celebrating, he was left wondering if he could have beaten Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha), after puncturing two kilometres before the day’s penultimate climb.
The Dutchman was forced to expend valuable energy chasing back on, as the peloton surged up the Cat. 2 Alta de Valdapeñas. He managed to rejoin the bunch on the descent thanks to the help of teammate Matteo Carrara but the damage was already done.
"It’s a positive result to finish second behind one of the world’s best riders [considering my puncture] especially with this kind of finale."
"I wanted to attack but my directeur sportif told me to remain quiet and focus on GC. I had thought of going for the stage win but even though I managed to work myself back to the front and - was behind "Purito" [Rodriguez] when he attacked, I was simply unable to follow."
Poels is riding in his second Grand Tour of the year having abandoned the Tour de France after suffering on the stage to Super-Besse. A real general classification hope for the future, the Dutchman has posted a number of impressive results in 2011, including a fourth overall at the recent Tour de Pologne, and second place in the Tour de l’Ain. Despite no lack of form he’s simply trying to ride as consistently as possible and reach the finish in Madrid.
"In the future I have the feeling that I can become a good GC rider. [For now] however I’d be very happy to reach Madrid in the top 20."