Two months after being a non-starter at the Vuelta a Espana due to a health condition, flying Dutchman Theo Bos is back after he claimed stage 2 of the Tour of Hainan. Belkin scored an impressive 1-2 with race leader Moreno Hofland increasing his advantage on GC thanks to the time bonus he collected. The Dutch duo beat French fast man and future Europcar rider Yannick Martinez of La Pomme Marseille.
"Winning is always nice but winning after a long drought is even sweeter," said Bos, whose last victory was stage 1 of the Ster ZLM Toer in mid-June.
"It’s not been an easy period for me but it’s nice to be back with a victory."
"My intention was to take as many seconds bonus as I could," echoed Hofland.
“There were many attacks at the beginning but no breakaway, so I could go for the first two intermediate sprints."
He won them both, ahead of his teammate Lars Boom and Drapac’s Will Walker at 30.4km, while Fabian Schnaidt of Champion System and Walker again could only see him from behind on the line at 46.7km.
Having bagged six seconds bonus, Hofland was happy to witness a trio going up the road at 52km. Chris Williams (Novonordisk), Elchin Asadov (Synergy Baku) and Hong Kong national champion Cheong King Wai got an advantage of three minutes after 100 kilometres of racing. Asadov wasthe first of them to give up, Cheong was the last man away but he was reined in 15 kilometers before the finish in front of the convention centre on the shores of the Haikou Bay.
"From the moment the breakaway went, it became an easier job for us than yesterday," Bos said.
"It would not be possible for us to race hard every day like stage 1. With 3km to go, riding over a bridge with side wind was pretty difficult but it came down to the sprint we wanted with the team leading me out. A lot of riders are looking at us but our search for time bonus also worked out as we wanted."
Bos was led out by his whole team with one notable exception. "I was given a free role to sprint behind him," Hofland said. "I managed to stay on his wheel, so it’s nice to get some more seconds bonus at the end. I’m going try to gain time like that every day and make the gap bigger on GC to see the possibility to win the race overall."
After only two stages, the 22-year-old neo pro already has a 27 second lead over stage 1 runner up Frédéric Amorison. Belkin seems to have the situation under control and a very motivated squad around Bos and Hofland.
"They’re unbeatable with two very good sprinters,” Martinez said. “To finish third behind them is a good performance for me. I’m a decent sprinter too but today I wasn’t well positioned, maybe tenth when I had to start sprinting earlier than Bos and Hofland. If I get a better position in the next few days, I might get a better result as well. I’m still motivated to do well at the end of the season even though I know the training camps with Europcar will come quickly after I’ll return home from China. My job next year will consist in being Bryan Coquard’s lead out man, so if he does the Tour de France, I’ll do it too."
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Theo Bos (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team||4:16:56|
|2||Moreno Hofland (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team|
|3||Yannick Martinez (Fra) La Pomme Marseille|
|4||Lars Boom (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team|
|5||Yuriy Metlushenko (Ukr) Ukraine|
|6||Fabian Schnaidt (Ger) Champion System Pro Cycling Team|
|7||Justin Jules (Fra) La Pomme Marseille|
|8||Kevin Peeters (Bel) Crelan-Euphony|
|9||Rico Rogers (NZl) Synergy Baku Cycling Project|
|10||Andris Smirnovs (Lat) Rietumu-Delfin|
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Moreno Hofland (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team||6:03:05|
|2||Frédéric Amorison (Bel) Crelan-Euphony||0:00:27|
|3||Thomas Leezer (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team||0:00:37|
|4||Fabian Schnaidt (Ger) Champion System Pro Cycling Team||0:00:41|
|5||Jos Van Emden (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team|
|6||Christopher Williams (Aus) Team Novo Nordisk|
|7||William Walker (Aus) Drapac Cycling||0:00:42|
|8||Kevin Peeters (Bel) Crelan-Euphony||0:00:43|
|9||Darío Hernández (Spa) Burgos BH-Castilla y Leon||0:00:44|
|10||Adrian Honkisz (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice|