Stage 2 winner Theo Bos and race leader Moreno Hofland repeated their 1-2 on stage 3 in front of Guantang Hot Spring Leisure Center in Qionghai. This time around, the first non-Belkin rider on the line was Yuriy Metlushenko (Ukrainian national team), in third.
He’s the oldest rider in the race at the age of 37 and doesn’t eye retirement as Chris Horner’s victory at the Vuelta a España seems to serve as an inspiration in the professional peloton these days.
“It’s been a similar race as yesterday”, Bos described. “A breakaway went but not very early and only one of our guys, Marc Goos, was able to set the pace of the bunch and chase by himself.”
Six riders took off after 50km of racing and prevented the sprinters from competing for the first two hot spot sprints: Liu Jian Peng (Hengxiang), André Benoit (Quantec), Antoine Lavieu (La Pomme Marseille), Jesus Del Pino (Burgos-BH), Aandriy Vasylyuk (Ukraine) and Samir Jabrayilov (Synergy Baku).
Helped for a while by Jabrayilov, Vasylyuk went solo and was 1:30 ahead of the peloton with 15km to go. He was first at the last intermediate sprint located 8km before the finishing line. Coming second, Anuar Manan of Synergy Baku took the time bonus he needed to lead the Asian riders classification again.
“But a stage win at the Tour of Hainan is my goal more than the blue jersey, which is hard to keep for a sprinter although the profile is not so bad this year”, Manan said. “I’ve won a stage at this race in 2008 and 2011, last year I got a second place. This year, there are a lot of strong sprinters but I think I can still win. I believe in myself and I believe in my team-mates.”
A split in the bunch added nine seconds more to his lead over previous blue jersey wearer Cheong King Wai from Hong Kong. For the same reason, runner up Frédéric Amorison dropped down in time (42 seconds) compared to Hofland and maintained his position by only one second over Tom Leezer, also from Belkin whose train seems to be hard to beat.
“Some other teams were looking for time bonus at the end, so the last 20km went pretty fast”, Bos explained. “But we managed to hit the front and put our train in place. Lars Boom capped it off and gave me the way really close to the finish. He made it easy for us. We could repeat the same tactic with Moreno [Hofland] following me.”
“If possible, one day I’ll try to pass Theo”, echoed the race leader with a smile. “But when he sprints over 50km/h, he’s hard to beat. Only if a finish is uphill, we can go for a different result. For now, we’re gonna keep the same tactic. I’m confident I can keep the yellow jersey in the hills [in stage 7 and 8] because I could climb well at the Tour of Beijing.”
Since he switched from track to road cycling after the Beijing Olympics, Bos had the goal to win one more race every year. At Le Tour de Langkawi in February this year, he said he was unsure of his target after he exceeded his expected score in 2012 with seven victories. Stage 2 of the Tour of Hainan saw him reaching eight wins during the 2013 season.
“It’s nice to break a record”, Bos concluded. “But maybe I should stop it there, otherwise I won’t know what to do next year. Anyway, we’ll try to get the most of this race as a team with winning more sprints and GC.”
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Theo Bos (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team||3:19:34|
|2||Moreno Hofland (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team|
|3||Yuriy Metlushenko (Ukr) Ukraine|
|4||Lars Boom (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team|
|5||Justin Jules (Fra) La Pomme Marseille|
|6||José Gonçalves (Por) La Pomme Marseille|
|7||Michael Kurth (Ger) Team Quantec-Indeland|
|8||Fabian Schnaidt (Ger) Champion System Pro Cycling Team|
|9||Christoph Schweizer (Ger) Synergy Baku Cycling Project|
|10||William Walker (Aus) Drapac Cycling|
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Moreno Hofland (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team||9:22:33|
|2||Frédéric Amorison (Bel) Crelan-Euphony||0:00:42|
|3||Thomas Leezer (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team||0:00:43|
|4||Fabian Schnaidt (Ger) Champion System Pro Cycling Team||0:00:47|
|5||William Walker (Aus) Drapac Cycling|
|6||José Gonçalves (Por) La Pomme Marseille||0:00:50|
|7||Mykhailo Kononenko (Ukr) Ukraine|
|8||Christopher Williams (Aus) Team Novo Nordisk||0:00:56|
|9||Theo Bos (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team||0:00:58|
|10||Adrian Honkisz (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice||0:00:59|
|11||Darío Hernández (Spa) Burgos BH-Castilla y Leon|