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by Shane Stokes
January 30, 2018
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Team Sky riders Wout Poels and Michal Kwiatkowski will get their 2018 seasons underway this week when they are part of the selection at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana. Poels took the race two years ago as part of his buildup to a victorious Liège-Bastogne-Liège and wants to hit the ground running.
“I’m really looking forward to this season. I finished 2017 off strongly at the Vuelta a Espana and now it’s time to get back in the game and try to get some nice results,” he said. “Naturally sixth place at the Vuelta gave me a lot of confidence. I hope I get more opportunities to do more things like that in the Grand Tours. For now, I’m just excited to get back to racing, starting this week.”
He will be joined by former world champion Kwiatkowski, David de la Cruz, Vasil Kiryienka, Gianni Moscon, Diego Rosa and Ian Stannard in the event, which begins on Wednesday.
Sport Director Servais Knaven is expecting big things from Poels. “Wout is going to be the leader and he is aiming to win the race again, like he did two years ago,” he said. “I saw him in Mallorca and he’s feeling good. He’s got no issues, he had a good winter and he’s up for going full gas this week. We have a few cards to play but Wout will be the leader.
“There are two days for GC. There’s a 30km team time trial on Friday and a mountaintop finish on Saturday. That will be important and we have a strong lineup for that TTT. Hopefully the guys will be able to take time on the other GC contenders – that would be great and that’s the aim. Then you’re in a good position for the mountaintop finish on Saturday, but if we have to make time back then we have a strong team who could make the race hard.”