Wout Poels (Team Sky) vented his anger after crashing on the last corner of the decisive mountain stage and so losing a chance to win the Abu Dhabi Tour. He shouted at times, with his voice ringing out in the relative quiet at the top of the 11km climb.
The Team Sky rider looked set to win the stage and so take the overall lead after catching Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEdge) in the final kilometre. He sprinted to ensure he was first into the tight sweeping left turn but then seemed to lean too much into the corner and his tyres lost grip on the asphalt. As he tried to jump up, Chaves camp past him, with Fabio Aru (Astana) also catching him and passing him before the finish to take second.
Poels was calm and reflective a few minutes after the stage, having had time to reflect to his day.
"It is what it is. I can't change anything now…" he said.
"I'm really disappointed but that's racing. I think it's my own fault because I slipped away and went a little bit to fast. It's a new experience to lose a race so close to the finish," he said.
Poels revealed that he knew the tight corner would be decisive.
"I knew the corner was tight after the team meeting, that's why I was on the front," he explained. "When you're normally first into the corner, they can't usually pass you. I knew it was a sharp one but I didn't realise it was that sharp…"
Before his fatal moment, the Dutchman had ridden a perfect race. He avoided going with all the attacks and paced his effort on the 11km climb. He chased Chaves down with a controlled but determined effort, while also distancing Aru and other big-name Grand Tour riders.
"On this climb, even when you have 30 seconds, you can see each other," he said.
"I had a point to look at and I felt really good. It's really good when you can drop a rider like Aru. I have a good acceleration and so I sprinted in the switchbacks to gain a few seconds, then I did my own tempo and slowly, if there's room, you can comeback to riders. I think I did a perfect climb, except for the last corner."
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