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’.
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“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.
“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.”
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.
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.”