Five-time track sprint world champion Theo Bos (Cervélo Test Team) placed fourth in the stage four bunch sprint at the Amgen Tour of California, his best finish so far. The Dutchman was one of the favourites to capture a win; his proven track sprint didn't translate to dominating the road as well as he had hoped, however.
"We just tried to work on our lead-out and unfortunately I couldn't finish off their good work but I am very happy with the way we did the finale today," Bos told Cyclingnews. "I think Chicchi was really too fast today."
The Cervélo Test Team took control of the front of the peloton on the stage four finishing circuits located in Modesto but Bos came up empty handed in the final sprint won by Francesco Chicchi (Liquigas-Doimo), with JJ Haedo (Saxo Bank) and Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia) rounding out the podium.
"The lead-out was for my benefit today," Bos explained. "We tried to get to the front as late as possible and today we just wanted to go early to get me into a comfortable position. We started early and we knew that it was a little bit too far."
"I expected Columbia to take over and just stay in a good position then," he added. "I was in sixth or seventh position but I was little bit too late in the sprint. Haedo, Cavendish and Chicchi were in third, fourth and fifth position and I think I was three bike lengths behind and I couldn't come around."
The remaining stages will move into the Sierra Mountains where the climbers will test their legs towards the overall classification. Although unlikely, Bos is not ruling out the possibility of another field sprint.
"I'm looking at things day-to-day and today I didn't expect a sprint so I am pretty happy with the way the day went," said Bos. "It's going to be very hard the next couple of days. Tomorrow might be a sprint but it is on an uphill circuit. My sprint is not so good uphill, I'm faster downhill."
Bos kicked off his road career last year where he won the Ronde van Noord-Holland and Omloop der Kempen. This year he won a stage at the Vuelta a Murcia and captured two stage wins at the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon.
He is using stage races like the Amgen Tour of California to gain experience and strength on the road. He is hoping to compete in this year's Vuelta a España and says he has a long way to go before winning a stage in a Grand Tour.
"I will try to finish this race and improve myself," Bos continued. "I want to get better and become a stronger cyclist. This is a really hard race, one of the hardest that I have been in so far.
"Maybe I can do the Vuelta at the end of the year but if I wanted to do this race to become a little bit better than what my form is now."
The squad will not be going home without some success, having won stage three with Brett Lancaster, who briefly wore the golden leader's jersey.
"For the rest of the team there are some opportunities for them," Bos said. "We already won one stage and we had the yellow jersey for a day so we can be really satisfied with our results so far."