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Team Ineos have lost the services of a key mountain domestique

Joe Robinson
18 Sep 2019

Wout Poels will join Bahrian-Merida to rejoin forces with Rod Ellingworth in 2020

Team Ineos will lose one of their key Grand Tour domestiques as Wout Poels moves to Bahrain-Merida for 2020. It was expected that the Dutchman would move from the British WorldTour team at the end of the season in a bid to pursue his own Grand Tour ambitions in a two-year deal with the team.

Talking to Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, Poels confirmed his move to Bahrain-Merida citing former Team Ineos coach Rod Ellingworth as key in his decision, with the duo having worked together since 2015.

Ellingworth announced earlier this season that he would be leaving Ineos for Bahrain to take on the role of team principal.

Poels told De Telegraaf that Ellingworth 'is also the person who convinced me to ride for this team. I look forward to this new challenge, where new opportunities lie ahead.'

While the transfer is not officially confirmed, it is a done deal with an announcement expected at some point this week.

Poels joined Team Sky in 2015 from QuickStep, quickly establishing himself as one of the team's most important Grand Tour mountain domestiques.

The 31-year-old raced seven Grand Tours while at Team Sky/Ineos with five of those ending with a teammate taking the General Classification. 

A strong climber, he would often be Chris Froome's final man in the mountains and was instrumental in his 2015 and 2016 Tour de France wins as well as his 2017 Vuelta a Espana title, a race that Poels himself finished sixth at.

This quality led people to believe Poels could chase his own ambitions and in 2016 he proved his quality by winning Team Sky's first-ever Monument at Liege-Bastogne-Liege.

However, with a riches of talent including Froome, Geraint Thomas and Egan Bernal, Poels has never been given a clean run at a Grand Tour and this ultimately pushed his move away from the team.

He will, however, not have all his own way as he joins Bahrain-Merida at the same time as former Team Sky teammate Mikel Landa, who joins the team from Movistar in a bid to chase his own Grand Tour ambitions.