Wout Poels does not yet know whether he will definitely focus on the general classification in the Vuelta a España. On the first day of rest of the Spanish cycling round, the Limburger makes the choice between riding for a standings or hunting for a stage win.
"Of course I did not have the ideal preparation", says Poels Friday on the eve of the Vuelta at the NOS . "The first week is difficult immediately and the second week is very tough. On the first day of rest we have to see where I stand and whether I can ride a good standings. And otherwise I will try to win a ride."
Poels was only added to the Team INEOS selection at the last minute. The 31-year-old rider shares the lead among the British cycling team with the young Tao Geoghegan Hart from Great Britain. In July he already rode the Tour de France as a servant of Egan Bernal and Geraint Thomas, so the question is how his form is doing.
"Normally you have a completely different preparation", says the experienced rider, who already finished sixth in the final classification of the Vuelta two years ago. "I'm not saying I'm going to ride a good stand here, but it can work out just like that."
Poels asked the team management a week ago if he could still ride the Vuelta after the Tour. "That wasn't in the planning, but the team was already full. But then someone fell away and I was told that I could start."
In addition to Poels, two Dutch classification riders will start in Spain. Steven Kruijswijk has the role of shadow leader in the strong team of Jumbo-Visma and Wilco Kelderman leads Team Sunweb.
Wilco Kelderman had to give up in the Tour de France due to a back injury. (Photo: Getty Images)
Kelderman hopes to save the unfortunate season in Vuelta
The 28-year-old Kelderman hopes to save an unfortunate season with a good performance in the Vuelta. Due to a fall in the Tour of Catalonia, he missed the Giro d'Italia and in the Tour de France he had to give up due to a back injury after the fifteenth stage.
"I have done everything I can to be really top here. The last month I have worked hard to get as good as possible at the start", Kelderman told the AD . "The Vuelta has often been the round in which I had to save my season and often succeeded. I hope so again."
For example, the born Amersfoorter had to settle for tenth place in the Vuelta last season. Two years ago he even competed for the podium places and finished fourth in just under half a minute of the Russian Ilnur Zakarin, the number three in the final classification.
"That is still the best performance of my career. And I feel that something like this is still possible. I am not that far away from my current level, but then everything has to go well again "
The Vuelta will start on Saturday evening with a short team time trial in Torrevieja. Last year Simon Yates won the final victory, but the Briton does not participate during the 74th edition.
See also: View the stage plan and the list of participants of the Vuelta