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Race leader wins sprint at the end of demanding stage in the hills on Hainan and extends his overall lead while quintuple  stage winner Bos is dropped on category 2 climb

Photo: Tour of Hainan 2013

MORENO HOFLAND

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27.10.2013 @ 12:14 Posted by Jesper Johannesen

Moreno Hofland made it 8 out of 8 for Belkin in the Tour of Hainan when the race leader won a reduced bunch sprint at the end of a demanding day in the Chinese hills. When teammate Theo Bos was dropped on one of the climbs, he took over the sprinting duties for the Dutch team and beat Vitaliy Buts (Ukraine) and teammate Lars Boom to extend his overall lead to more than a minute with just one stage to go.

 

Belkin is now just one day away from making it a clean sweep at the Tour of Hainan as Moreno Hofland won today's penultimate stage and so increased his personal tally of stage wins to three. The race leader took over the role as main sprinter when quintuple stage winner Theo Bos was dropped and he didn't disappoint his teammates as he beat Vitaliy Buts in the sprint that ended the day.

 

The stage turned out to be the hardest so far and was more demanding than most had expected. With the CCC team controlling things for KOM leader Mateusz Taciak in the hilly zone, the pace was kept so high that several riders lost contact with the main bunch. One of them was Bos who was dropped for the third day in a row and unlike yesterday, he never manager to rejoin the peloton.

 

Belkin still had 5 riders in the group that was set to decided the stage in a sprint and as Hofland had proved several times, he is the second-fastest rider in the race - only surpassed by teammate Bos. At the end of the 3,4km finishing straight, he once again got perfect help from teammate Boom and narrowly edged out Buts in the battle for the stage win.

 

With the win, Hofland has extended his overall lead over 2nd placed Frederic Amorison (Crelan) to a massive 1.07 with just one largely flat 148km stage still remaining. As a big bunch sprint is expected to end the race, it is hard to imagine Hofland being denied his first professional win in a stage race.

 

A hilly stage

The 172,4km eighth stage from Dongfang to Danzhou was the final stage with categorized climbs and so the final real opportunity for Hofland's rivals to unseat him. Three categorized ascents challenged the riders in the final half of the stage but the final 33km were either downhill or flat.

 

After some initial attacks, three riders managed to separate themselves from the peloton as Gregoire Tarride (La Pomme Marseille), Oleksandr Polivoda (Atlas Personal) and Andriy Vasylyuk (Ukraine) went on the attack. Behind, Belkin started to control the peloton while the front trio swallowed up the bonus seconds at the first two intermediate sprints.

 

CCC takes control

Tarride was dropped on the only category 2 climb of the day while CCC upped the pace in the peloton as the Polish team tried to seal Taciak's win in the mountains competition. Their fierce pace saw several riders fall off the pace with Bos being the most prominent victim.

 

Tarride was caught before he reached the top and so Taciak took 3rd on the climb ahead of David Belda (Burgos) and his teammate Nikolay Mihaylov. The Polish team kept the pace high in between the climbs and so the group with Bos never managed to rejoin the peloton.

 

Taciak seals his win

Former KOM leader Buts took 3rd on the second climb ahead of Adrian Honkisz (CCC) and repeated the feat on the final climb while Taciak was fourth. Thus the Pole will win the mountains classification if he finishes the race tomorrow.

 

Belkin had five riders in the front group and helped keep the pace high on the run-in to the finish. Polivoda and Vasylyuk were caught and so the stage was set to be decided in another sprint. Once again, Belkin proved their superiority with Boom leading Hofland out and the Dutchman narrowly edged out Buts to continue the amazing run of success for the Dutchmen.

 

Results:

1. Moreno Hofland 4.18.53

2. Vitaliy Buts

3. Lars Boom

4. Mykhaylo Kononenko

5. Maksym Averin

6. William Walker

7. Martlomieh Matysiak

8. Frederic Amorison

9. Justin Jules

10. Marek Rutkiewicz

 

General classification:

1. Moreno Hofland 30.06.59

2. Frederic Amorison +1.07

3. Tom Leezer +1.14

4. Jos Van Emden +1.17

5. William Walker +1.21

6. Mykhaylo Kononenko +1.22

7. Dario Hernandez +1.24

8. Adrian Honkisz

9. Volodymyr Zagorodniy +1.28

10. Darren Lapthorne

 

Points classification:

1. Moreno Hofland 127

2. Theo Bos 80

3. Lars Boom 69

4. Yury Metlushenko 58

5. Maksym Averin 47

 

Mountains classification:

1. Mateusz Taciak 23

2. Vitaliy Buts 18

3. Andriy Vasylyuk 17

4. David Belda 12

5. Oleksandr Polivoda 11

 

Teams classification:

1. Belkin 90.24.52

2. Crelan-Euphony +0.34

3. Ukraine +0.49

4. CCC Polsat +1.13

5. Burgos

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