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"We’re on a winning mood, that’s why we keep it that way. I’m glad that I was able to win the sprint with a good lead out and that we were able to get first and second place again with Lars Boom," Hofland says

Photo: Feltet.dk

MORENO HOFLAND

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TEAM VISMA | LEASE A BIKE

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TOUR OF HAINAN

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VITALIY BUTS

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25.10.2013 @ 15:04 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

With quadruple stage winner Theo Bos having been dropped on the final climb, it was up to race leader Moreno Hofland to keep Belkin's winning streak alive in today's 6th stage of the Tour of Hainan. The young Dutchman lived up to the expectations when he took the team's sixth win in the race and he now hopes to keep the success going all the way to the end.

 

Belkin is totally dominant in the Tour of Hainan and today the team took its 6th win when Moreno Hofland won the uphill sprint on stage 6. For the fourth time, it was even a 1-2 for the Dutchmen as lead-out man Lars Boom was 2nd behind the race leader.

 

Belkin controlled the stage from the start and made sure that the early two-rider break was caught with more than 50km to go. With 5 stage wins already in their pocket, one could forgive them to take it a bit easier and allow a break to contest the win but due to the close GC, Hofland had to ask his team to work hard throughout the day.

 

“A lot of guys are only one minute down on GC, so we have to be very careful with who goes away”, he said. “There were a lot of attacks at the beginning of the race but Marc Goos set a strong pace in the climbs, so there was no gap to the leaders really."

 

"We’re on a winning mood, that’s why we keep it that way," he added. "I’m glad that I was able to win the sprint with a good lead out and that we were able to get first and second place again with Lars Boom.”

 

Bos got dropped

Until now, Theo Bos has been the dominant rider in the race as the fast Dutchman won four stages in a row. Today's stage was, however, the hilliest of the entire race with a category 2 climb just 15km from the finish and already yesterday, Bos made it clear that he expected the climbing to be too tough for him.

 

That prediction proved to be correct as he was dropped and lost more than 3 minutes.

 

“I managed to get back on after the first climb but not the second one, despite the help of Dennis van Winden to take me across”, he explained. “It doesn’t matter because my team-mates have finished the job at perfection once again.”

 

Sports director predicts Hofland to win the race

Once again sports director Michiel Elijzen was impressed by the way his team had controlled the stage.

 

“Today was an intense stage,” he said. “All day long, the pace was very high. Due to the length, it was an unpredictable stage. Anything could have happened but the boys did very well. They’ve controlled the entire stage.” 

 

Elijzen regretted the fact that Bos got dropped but can be confident that he has the two fastest riders in his ranks.

 

“Dennis van Winden tried to bring him back to pack but they came too late," he said. “Fortunately, with Moreno, we also have the second fastest man in the race after Theo.”

 

With the win, Hofland extended his overall lead to 53 seconds over Frederic Amorison (Crelan). The next two stages are moderately hilly but should end in bunch sprints, and Monday's final stage is completely flat. Hence, Elijzen feels confident that his young rider can win the race.

 

“His gap in the overall is almost a minute now," he said. "I think Moreno is the strongest man in the race. Given the strength of our team, the odds that Moreno will lose his jersey are small but we must remain attentive.” 

 

Buts defends KOM jersey

For Vitaliy Buts who rides for the Ukrainian national team, today's stage was an important one as the two category 2 climbs posed a threat to his lead in the mountains classification. He only scored one point and as Michael Gogl (KTM) scored 4, he saw his lead reduced to just two points.

 

Tomorrow's stage starts with the only category 1 climb of the race and so Buts hopes to have better legs on stage 7.

 

“I wasn’t feeling very well today but with the help of my team, I managed to keep the polka dot jersey”, he said. “Tomorrow, it’ll be an usual stage with the biggest climb of the whole Tour of Hainan located in the first ten kilometers of racing. We’ll be racing flat out from the gun. I hope to be first at the top at the top of the climb. After that, there’ll be 200km to cover! But we’ll try to set up a sprint for Yuriy Metlushenko.”

 

The Tour of Hainan ends on Monday

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