Team Sky’s Wout Poels was on his way to win stage three of the Abu Dhabi Tour and the overall classification tomorrow when the race finishes in the United Arab Emirates’s capital, but went too fast into the last corner at the top of the Jebel Hafeet summit finish and saw his bike slip from underneath him.
Colombian Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEdge), who led for most of the final kilometres, maintained his spot and continued for the win and red leader’s jersey at 1,025m.
Poels picked himself up, with scrapes on his left side, and placed third behind Fabio Aru (Astana) at 12 seconds.
With a flat stage tomorrow on Abu Dhabi’s Formula One circuit, Chaves should win the race overall.
The Dutchman who helped Chris Froome to his second Tour de France victory in July, yelled expletives a couple of times after the finish, but quickly regained his composer at the team’s car.
“I think it was the paint, I don’t know,” Poels said after looking at his scrapes.
“I felt I was flying, so I really fucked up because I would’ve won the stage and overall maybe.
“I knew it was a really sharp corner, but Chaves is not that slow so I thought that if I was first in the corner than I should normally win. You go fast in a climb, and in a corner, you don’t brake.”
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Not easing off in the last 80 metres before a left-hand turn appeared to cost Poels. He slipped, which seemed to be on the white paint, and landed on his left side.
He raced for the stage win after catching Chaves in the last kilometre, right before the 11km climb descended briefly. He attacked on the slight uphill kick to the line and led into the final corner, which cost him dearly.
25-year-old Chaves, who won two stages in the Vuelta a España, looks ready to win the race overall tomorrow. However, he recognised Poels bad luck by not celebrating when he crossed the line.
“Astana attacked really early, they tried really early. My legs were almost over!” Chaves explained.
“Poels caught me, in the last corner he missed it and crashed. I didn’t put my hands in the air because it wouldn’t have been correct for him.”