Poels confident of making Team Sky's Tour de France squad

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Wout Poels is confident he will be one of Chris Froome's key lieutenants at the Tour de France next month, despite missing much of the season with a knee injury.

Poels has been by Froome's side at each of the Team Sky rider's last two Tour victories, regularly keeping his team leader safe and occasionally showing his impressive climbing skills at the front.

He suffered a knee problem at the Ruta del Sol in February, though, and has only just returned to action at the Route du Sud.

The Dutchman completed the four stages in that race without any discomfort and he believes his lack of action will work in his favour when it comes to the Tour.

"I'm confident that I'm in the team," Poels told De Telegraaf. "The progress has been clearly visible in recent weeks.

"As one of Froome's domestiques, I do not have to be good on the first day. Instead I have to be fresh in the third week in the Alps.

"It has also been mentioned that I will also start in Vuelta a Espana. Because I've been out for three months, that might be a good idea as I'll still be fresh."