Poels shares leadership with Thomas for Team Sky at Tirreno

Team Sky's Wout Poels starts Tirreno-Adriatico on Wednesday in a joint leadership role with Geraint Thomas, and is relishing racing there again for the first time since 2016.

The previous year, at the 2015 Tirreno, Poels won a stage, which was his first win for Sky having joined them that season, and the Dutchman hopes that this year's 'punchier' route – which only takes in central Italy's muri, rather than any high mountains – will suit him as the winner of the 2016 Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

"They say it's more for the Classics guys, but I won a Classic," Poels said of this year's Tirreno route and his victory at Liège. "I really like Tirreno. I've done it quite a lot of times, and at Vaconsoleil I won the white jersey as best young rider [in 2012].

"I've been in the top 10 three times" – eighth in 2012, 10th in 2013 and seventh in 2015 – "and I won that stage in 2015, which was my first win for Team Sky. So Tirreno's got some good memories for me," he said on his team's website.

"I've felt good since the Volta ao Algarve," Poels added, where the 31-year-old finished third overall, having also finished third overall at the Tour Down Under in January.

"I've been training back home with Chris Froome, Michal Kwiatkowski, Kenny Elissonde, Geraint Thomas and Luke Rowe, so we've had a good block, and I'll be trying for a nice result at Tirreno. 'G' [Thomas] and I are leading, so we'll see how it plays out.

"It looks like it will be quite punchy, but I don't mind that," he said. "For the team time trial on day one we have a really good team as well, so we'll see. But I feel good."

Team Sky will be the 17th of 23 teams to start on Wednesday afternoon in Lido di Camaiore, facing a flat, 21.5km TTT course on which they'll be one of the favourites for the win.

Team Sky for the 2019 Tirreno-Adriatico: Jonathan Castroviejo, Filippo Ganna, Gianni Moscon, Wout Poels, Salvatore Puccio, Ian Stannard, Geraint Thomas

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