Team Sky may have come away from the Tour Down Under without the victory they set out for, but it wasn’t for lack of trying. Sunday’s final stage to Willunga Hill saw the team race aggressively, with Wout Poels taking second place at the finish.
Despite their efforts, it was Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) who took the stage win, his sixth in a row on Willunga, while Poels crossed the line just metres behind, securing third place overall. The Dutchman reflected on his efforts after the stage.
"It was a good climb but unfortunately Richie [Porte] was too strong," he said. "It was a good ride but unfortunately not a win."
Poels’ teammate Kenny Elissonde attacked with him on both ascents of Willunga, a fixture at the Tour Down Under.
"Kenny? We didn’t really plan it, but sometimes you have to race on feeling. I think it was a good move by Kenny, and it worked pretty well, but yeah – Richie was too strong," Poels said.
"I knew it was a really long way [to go when I had a gap]. It was a really hard race again today. I gave it everything for the finish, but then Richie came. I could follow a little, but then I had to drop.
"I came a little bit back, but I think second place was the best I could do."
Nonetheless it’s a strong result to kick off the season for the 2016 Liège-Bastogne- Liège winner, who has never started his season so early.
"[It was a] pretty good race. The team did a really good job, and they always did a great job yesterday too with the crosswinds, keeping me at the front. They always did an amazing job, so I certainly have no complaints."
Poels’ will stay in Australia for his next race, the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race. The Volta ao Algarve and Tirreno-Adriatico are also on the calendar ahead of his first goal of the season – the Ardennes Classics.
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
Daniel Ostanek has been a staff writer at Cyclingnews since August 2019, having joined in 2017 as a freelance contributor and later part-time production editor. Before Cyclingnews, he was published in numerous publications around the cycling world, including Procycling, CyclingWeekly, CyclingTips, Cyclist, and Rouleur, among others. As well as reporting and writing news, Daniel runs the 'How to watch' content on Cyclingnews and takes on live race text coverage throughout the season.
Daniel has reported from the world's top races, including the Tour de France, and has interviewed a number of the sport's biggest stars, including Egan Bernal, Wout van Aert, Remco Evenepoel, Mark Cavendish, and Anna van der Breggen. Daniel rides a 2002 Landbouwkrediet Colnago C40 and his favourite races are Tro-Bro Léon, Strade Bianche, and the Vuelta a España.
Thank you for signing up to Cycling News. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.