Max Poole says that during his week of racing at the Tour of the Alps, he’s learnt a lot of lessons from testing himself against some of cycling’s superstars.
After leading the competition for a large part of the five day stage race, DSM’s 20-year-old talent from northern England took home the best young rider competition. A well deserved prize after a tough week of racing in Austria and north east Italy.
One year on from his debut for the DSM senior team, Poole told Cycling Weekly that he had picked up a lot from racing against the likes of Tour of the Alps winner Tao Geoghegan Hart.
“I was a bit unsure of how I’d go this week, so it’s really nice to have been rubbing shoulders with the big boys,” he said. “The team’s done a really good job here… it’s definitely nice to be racing with these guys.”
Throughout the week, Poole was never too far out of the overall picture, and finished 12th overall. The man from Scunthorpe in northern England ended the week one minute and 46 seconds behind Geoghegan Hart.
Poole explained to Cycling Weekly that while he took great satisfaction from his performances, it was difficult to match the power of the likes of the Ineos Grenadiers rider in the finale of each stage.
“It’s that last little kick that guys like that have, it’s a bit hard to go with sometimes,” he explained. “The legs have been good though…It’s just that last little kick where I couldn’t really go with them.”
After sealing the best young rider competition in Brunico on Friday, Poole told the media that he’d noticed an increase in the level of competition at the Tour of the Alps.
“It’s been a really hard race, I did it last year, and I think some of the stages and the racing this year was harder,” he said. “The level was really high here and I’m really happy with the way I went in the end. It was really positive, showed me what I can do, and is a great confidence boost.”
“I think it shows me where I can go, what level I can really reach, and has given me the confidence I needed.”
Without revealing too much, Poole said he now knows what he needs to do in the future in order to be racing for the win against some of the best riders in the sport.
“I think I just need to pick up on little things at the top when I’m there racing for the win,” Poole added. “I think that’s the next step really, to be in there racing for the win rather than just trying to hang on for as long as I can.”
“There’s been some really good lessons from watching other people, and watching how to race here. Today I had to keep my wits about me, but there’s a lot of stuff to take forward. Mentally knowing that I can live with these guys is a really good feeling.”
DSM coach Callum Ferguson told CW that Poole’s attitude and approach that he displayed in the Alps could certainly take him a long way.
“Max is a super laid back guy, he’s relaxed and has got confidence in his abilities,” Ferguson said. “He’s young, so I think it’s very exciting for the team but also really exciting for him as he’s proven this week that he’s up there. With a bit more experience, for sure he’ll be right up there again in the future.”