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Wout Poels triumphed on today's third stage of the Skoda Tour de Luxembourg
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Published on Jun 6, 2012
Vacansoleil DCM rider Wout Poels triumphed on today's third stage of the Skoda Tour de Luxembourg, winning a three man sprint against RadioShack Nissan riders Jakob Fuglsang and Fränk Schleck. Fuglsang takes over the leader's jersey from Jimmy Engoulvent.
"I have been feeling good all week and this is a fantastic result," said Poels, who triumphed despite being away with the RadioShack Nissan duo and their team-mate Andreas Kloden.
The stage was aggressive from the very start. Jérôme Cousin attacked from the gun and four riders followed him, namely mountains leader Albert Timmer (Argos Shimano), Jens Debusschere (Lotto-Belisol), Staf Scheirlinckx (Accent Jobs-Willems Veranda's) and Matthew Hayman (Team Sky). The five got a maximum lead of over 7 minutes but then Radioshack brought that back to a manageable three minutes. Meanwhile Timmer picked up enough points to secure his green mountain jersey until the end of the race tomorrow.
This hardest stage in the Tour of Luxembourg from Eschweiler to Differdange (205.4 km) finished with three local 9.5 kilometre loops including the Col de l'Europe. The 1.5 kilometre climb averaged 7.6% and proved to be decisive, as Poels explained afterwards. "Klöden attacked first and was followed by Fränk Schleck. I followed with Jakob Fuglsang," he said. "I knew Fuglsang was two seconds ahead of me in the overall so I decided to go for a stage win. If I would have attacked against three of them I would have ended up with nothing and I knew I could beat them in the sprint."
The result marks a successful return to competition for him. "I haven't been racing since Liège-Bastogne-Liège. I had my wisdom teeth removed, trained with Lieuwe Westra in Spain and we did a recon of the Tour de France stages with part of the team. It's good to be back racing."
Jakob Fuglsang did what team manager Kim Andersen asked of his riders: go for the overall. "The guys worked so hard all day. Every time Laurent Didier, Jens Voigt or Linus Gerdemann increased the tempo on the climbs they rode so hard that only 50 riders remained in the peloton. That's what the plan was, this morning." the Danish rider said. "Then we saved Maxime Monfort and Grégory Rast for the local laps.
"On the Col de l'Europe Kloedi went with Fränk, and Wout Poels jumped after them just after the top. My job for the day was to stay with him because we knew he was dangerous. The most important was the overall. I tried on the last climb on Col de l'Europe to get rid of Poels but it didn't work. Fränk pulled hard for the finish but unfortunately I couldn't beat Poels in the sprint."
The Skoda Tour de Luxembourg finishes on Sunday with a 153.5 kilometre long stage to the capital.
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