Chris Froome's super-domestique Wout Poels admits the strength of Team Sky's squad means he has to wait on a Grand Tour leadership role for now
The Dutchman, who has impressed as Chris Froome’s super-domestique at the Tour de France the last two years, had previously he would like to try and target a Grand Tour general classification himself.
Yet speaking at the team’s pre-season camp in Majorca this week, Poels said the team are unlikely to let him target the Giro or Vuelta a España this year as he has become such a valuable team-mate to Froome in July.
“I really want to try one day in a Grand Tour, but that’s the only thing in this team we are such a strong team.
“Mikel [Landa] has already [been] one time third in the Giro, so it’s difficult for me to stand up and say ‘yeah I also want to do that’, when I’ve never done top-10 before.
“I’ll have to wait for that chance and hopefully it’ll come,” he said.
“Maybe they’re not really happy if I was to go for the Giro and I’m not 100 per cent in the Tour anymore.”
The 29-year-old, who joined Sky in 2015, extended his contract at the end of last year by another three years to keep him with the British squad until 2019.
He had the most successful season in his career to date in 2016, winning Liege-Bastonge-Liege, which was also Sky’s first Monument, as well as taking a stage and the overall win at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, a stage win at the Tour of Catalonia, and at the Tour of Britain in September.
However, he dismissed suggestion he’d be able to target the Vuelta this year due to the mental strength required to race with Froome at the Tour, something he said required you being “at three weeks on the limit in your head – it’s quite stressful”.
Poels’s highest Grand Tour placing so far has been 17th in the Vuelta in 2011, while the only time he has participated in two Grand Tours in a row was in 2013 with Vaconsoleil, where he abandoned the Vuelta on stage 14.
“Chris [Froome] has showed he can do two Grand Tours in a row. You have the Nibali’s the Quintana’s and Valverde’s they are really, really good riders – and I’m not sure if I can do two Grand Tours in a row on a really high level,” Poels continued.
“If I want to lead the team, if I can have this opportunity, I’d really want to prepare like I do for the Tour. Not do the Tour before and then the Vuelta and look how it goes, because if it goes wrong [at the Vuelta] then for sure you won’t have the opportunity again.”
Instead, Poels confirmed he wants to target week-long stage races in 2017, as well as focus on the Ardennes Classics.
“Paris-Nice I think I’m going to lead this year, the Tour de Suisse; seven day [races] or longer,” he said. “They’re also really nice races and really nice goals to prove myself. I think if I can show myself in those races they’re [the team] also going to have a little bit ore confidence that I can lead a Grand Tour.
“Maybe this is the first step and then the second step should be a Grand Tour.”