"I've always had the Tour in the back of my mind" - After disappointment of Giro snub Wout Poels focused on starring at Tour de France

Wout Poels made his intentions known earlier this year, he was targeting a Giro d'Italia stage win to complete his Grand Tour set. Sadly for the Dutchman, he wasn't selected for the opening Grand Tour of the season but with the Tour de France looming, Poels is hopeful that this can be his time to shine.

"If I go to the Tour now, it doesn't matter that much, does it?" says the 36-year-old, who won stages of both the Tour de France and the Vuelta a Espana in 2023, in conversation with In de Leiderstrui about the disappointment of missing out on Giro d'Italia selection. "For myself, I had made it a good goal to win a stage, but anyway: trying to go for a new stage in the Tour is also fun."

If selected, this latest Tour de France appearance will be the 11th of Poels' career and the 23rd Grand Tour he has embarked upon. "Look, I've always had the Tour in the back of my mind. Sometimes the team then makes choices," the Dutchman continues, full of praise for what the Bahrain - Victorious team selected for the Giro d'Italia managed to achieve. "Of course I thought it was a shame, because I would have loved to go there. But they wanted a slightly younger team in the Giro and in the end they rode very well with Antonio Tiberi in his white jersey and fifth place."

Poels opened his Grand Tour stage winning account at the 2023 Tour de France

Although it is widely expected, it's not officially confirmed yet that Poels will be present at the Tour de France. Given it was also widely expected that he would be at the Giro d'Italia, the Dutchman isn't getting too far ahead of himself just yet. "It's not completely certain yet, but I'm guessing it's eighty percent," he explains. "I feel good and it's getting better every day. After the Giro I had to change my plans a bit, which I did via the Tour de Hongrie. Then I took some rest and after two and a half weeks of training I went to Switzerland. It's not quite the best yet, but it's getting a lot better each time."

"If I go, it will be the same way as last year. Of course we also have Santiago Buitrago, Pello Bilbao and Jack Haig. Help the team and then maybe go for a stage yourself, that will be it," Poels concludes. "Santiago already rode well last year, but he also made some progress. For example, in Paris-Nice he rode very well, but there he was unlucky and fell. I'm curious to see how he will perform now."

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