Van Poppel: No shame in losing to Ewan and Sagan

Team Sky sprinter encouraged by progress

With a second, third and fourth place on stages in this year's Tour Down Under, Team Sky's Danny Van Poppel has certainly been consistent in the sprint finishes, however after losing out on stage 4 to Caleb Ewan and Peter Sagan, he admitted that the better riders had come out on top.

"I think the strongest won," he said after Ewan came around him to take his third stage win of the race.

"It was a hard finish and I was maybe more patient than yesterday. I was screaming at Luke [Rowe] to go, but in the end he went much later and it was better for me with the uphill finish. With 200m to go I went and two people came across me. I think it's no shame to be third behind those two names."

"I felt like I had good legs, but if you wait too long everybody will come from behind and that happened yesterday. I didn't want to make that mistake again. For me, third is OK, you see Sagan and Ewan are top sprinters."

Van Poppel, now in his second year at Team Sky, is looking for his first win of the year at the Tour Down Under and while the team have podium aspirations in the form of Sergio Henao, they have also backed the Dutchman. However, Ewan has been in scintillating form, and now has five Tour Down Under stages to his name in less that two years.

"This is my first race and Ewan is obviously busy for a long time so it's normal. But my shape is getting better and better so this is a good warm up."

"We go again [on Sunday], I have a great team here. I think we had the best train, if you see the names there's a lot of horsepower in front of me. We have some Colombians and a small Frenchman, so they need to stay behind me but they try to help."

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