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“But the course will be harder in the coming days. Today in the small hills, I could already feel the legs heavier. However, I’m getting used to racing in China. It’s nice to see the big crowds and people with a smile on t...

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TOUR OF HAINAN

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23.10.2013 @ 16:54 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Theo Bos continued his own and Belkin's run of success in the Tour of Hainan when the fast Dutchman won his third and Belkin's fourth consecutive stage on today's fourth stage. However, he expects things to get tougher in the coming days when the courses get more hilly.

 

Being the only ProTeam, Belkin was expected to have a major say in the Tour of Hainan but until now, the team has exceeded all expectations. After four stages, the team has taken four wins and even finished 1st, 2nd and 4th on stages 2 and 3.

 

Today's fourth stage was a continuation of the team's dominance as star sprinter Theo Bos took his third consecutive win while teammate Moreno Hofland defended his overall lead. With such a massive amount of success, one could forgive Bos for thinking that the race is too easy for such a major team but the sprinter underlines that his results are more a result of impressive teamwork than a lack of competition.

 

“We take this race very seriously and we don’t underestimate anyone," he said. "You never know what to expect, but we’re are doing great as a team. The guys just make it very easy for me. They did an excellent lead-out again today. The most important thing, however, is Moreno’s GC. We need to hang on to that. If we can take some stage wins along the way then that’s great.” 

 

Until now, the team has been in complete control but today they faced a difficult start to the stage.

 

“This victory is a little bit different from the other two”, Bos explained. “This time, a breakaway went from the start. We had three riders in it but not Moreno, so we hesitated for a while and then decided to close the gap. Later a breakaway of three riders went and it was not as easy as the other days to control. They were riding pretty fast at the front.”

 

Until now, the stages have been completely flat but from tomorrow the courses will gradually get more hilly. Bos is not as a pure sprinter who struggles on the climbs and he knows that it will be hard to keep his winning streak alive.

 

“So far, I’m happy with the speed I feel in my legs, and once again, my lead out man Lars Boom dropped me off at a perfect timing for sprinting”, he said. “But the course will be harder in the coming days. Today in the small hills, I could already feel the legs heavier. However, I’m getting used to racing in China. It’s nice to see the big crowds and people with a smile on their face when we ride through the villages.”

 

The win was Bos' 9th in 2013 and the 32nd for Belkin. The Dutch team is now 5th on the victory ranking, only surpassed by Omega Pharma-QuickStep (55), Sky (35), Cannondale (35), FDJ (33) and Orica-GreenEdge (33). “It would be nice if we could rise a few positions on that list," Bos added.

 

In the first two stages, Hofland had been well-placed on Bos' wheel at the start of the sprint and maintained that position all the way to the finish to take 2nd. Today he was, however, unable to repeat that feat.

 

“I got boxed in and I couldn’t follow him anymore”, he said. “But I didn’t lose any time on GC and that was my objective."

 

Once again sports director Michiel Elijzen was impressed by the teamwork that laid the foundations for the win.

 

“The atmosphere within the team is very good," he said." Four wins in four days is fantastic. The scenario was the same as the past few days: in the opening phase the pace was very high, a small break got away, Marc Goos controlled and a sprint ended the stage." 

 

The Tour of Hainan ends on Monday.

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