Wout Poels could become the next Team Sky super domestique to try his hand at targeting the general classification in a Grand Tour. The 28-year-old has twice guided Chris Froome to Tour de France success and claimed Team Sky's first ever monument victory at Liege-Bastogne-Liege earlier this year.
The former Etixx-QuickStep rider has yet to finalise his programme with his employers for 2017, but either the Giro d'Italia or the Vuelta a Espana could form part of his campaign.
"This winter we have to look with the team as to what my programme will be and what they want to do, and with Chris. Maybe it will be the Vuelta or the Giro but we have to look at it," Poels told Cyclingnews after winning stage 6 of the Tour of Britain.
"I think the Vuelta might be better but I've done the Giro one time and I also really liked it there. We have to see."
Team Sky has seen several riders fly the Froome Tour nest and in search of Grand Tour glory of their own. Richie Porte, Mikel Landa and Rigoberto Uran have all been given varying degrees of freedom in the past but Froome and former Sky leader, Bradley Wiggins, remain the only two men to have carried off Grand Tour success. However, Poels, who looked every bit as good, if not better, than most of Froome's rivals during the second half of this year's Tour, believes that he is ready.
"I think so. I'm now 28 and I've done some really nice things with Chris in the Tour so I think I'm ready for it. Hopefully the legs are ready for it."
Although he has his individual ambitions, Poels is hopeful that any 2017 plans include being part of Froome's Tour de France challenge.
"That would be nice. I really like to ride for Chris and to work for him. I think it's a really good opportunity to work with a Tour de France winner. I've done that twice now and each time he's finished it off, which has been really nice. We'll see."
After the Tour of Britain Poels will head to France for the European Championships, where he will be part of a strong Dutch contingent. The final race of his campaign is likely to be the Tour of Lombardy, a race no Dutchman has won since Hennie Kuiper in 1981.
"The Tour was really good but the Olympics were a little bit disappointing for myself and after that I took a little bit of a rest and I started to build up again," he said.
"Next week I go to the European championships and then I ride Milan-Turin and Lombardia. I want to try and be good there and that will be the last race of the season."
As for ambitions of winning Lombardy, Poels said: "That's the goal. I will try. It's always difficult but Lombardy is a good race for me. We'll see."
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