Wout Poels on Liège win: ‘a dream come true on a hard day’

Team Sky's Wout Poels says taking the team's first Monument win is a 'dream come true' especially given the harsh weather conditions during Liège-Bastogne-Liège - Photos by Graham Watson

Dutchman Wout Poels has said that his victory in Liège-Bastogne-Liège on Sunday was a ‘dream come true’, particularly as the sub-zero weather conditions made for a tough day in Belgium.

Poels was part of a four-man group that contested the win in Ans on a day where the route was redirected due to snowfall. After years of trying, and several near-misses, Poels’ victory marks Sky’s first win in one of cycling five big ‘Monuments’.

“It was a really hard day due to the weather. You had to keep warm and I had prepared well to cope with that, especially in terms of clothing,” Poels said after his victory.

>>> Wout Poels wins Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Team Sky’s first Monument

“It’s amazing to win Liège, it’s like a dream come true after my bad crash of three years ago. I’m a much more solid and complete rider now with less ups and downs. Liège is a monument I would watch on TV when I was a child. To win it is incredible.”

Wouter Poels wins the 2016 Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Wouter Poels wins the 2016 Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Poels suffered a near-career-ending injury in 2012, when a crash on stage six of the Tour de France left him with severe internal injuries. After a lengthy period of recovery, he signed for Team Sky from Omega Pharma-QuickStep for the 2015 season, where he won a stage of the Tour of Britain and Tirreno-Adriatico as well as being a key part of Sky’s Grand Tour line-ups.

>>> Wout Poels: From horrific injury to Team Sky success

With the support of his Sky team-mates during Liège, Poels has now realised his potential with his biggest win to date, and is looking ahead to more responsibility in the British WorldTour team going forward.

Watch: Show us your scars – Wout Poels

“It makes a difference to have a strong team protecting you,” said the 28-year-old. “In the past I would waste too much energy at the back so having guys around me helps a lot.

“The team is of course happy. It’s great to show that we can do well on Classics as well as on Grand Tours

“I’ll be alongside Chris [Froome] on the Grand Tours but hope to one day, maybe next year, I’ll have an opportunity to be a leader. I still have to prove I can do well.”