Theo Bos reached the symbolic number of ten victories during the 2013 season as he claimed his fourth stage win in a row at the 2013 Tour of Hainan. For the third time, it was a 1-2 for Belkin with yellow jersey Moreno Hofland keeping his wheel. The neo pro even increased his lead on GC to 43 seconds over runner-up Frédéric Amorison with the time bonus he also collected on the way.
Tour of Hainan stage win record holder Boris Shpilevski (10, in 2009 and 2010) moved one position up from the previous day to accompany the two Belkin riders on stage for the award ceremony.
It was not as easy as it looked for the former track sprinting star Bos, who courageously switched to road cycling after the Beijing Olympics. "It's still never easy for me to climb," he noted. "I'm not comfortable riding my bike uphill. It was a big challenge for me to survive a stage like today's.
"The climbs here aren't like at the Tour de France but still, riders go full gas for the points of the KOM competition. Luckily I could make it back to the bunch behind my teammate Marc Goos after I got dropped in the last hill. We managed to get organized in time for a bunch sprint with the Ukrainian national team. We were the two strongest teams on the road."
Sport's director Michiel Elijzen told Cyclingnews: "We haven't changed our tactic from the second day on. It seems to succeed, as we have the strongest team with the fastest sprinter. There are the two most important factors for winning bunch sprints. When a breakaway goes, we pay attention to who is in it. If there are European riders, we don't let them gain much more than three minutes."
On stage 5, it was the turn of Floris Goesinnen of Drapac and Lukas Ranacher of KTM who got caught 25km away from the finishing line after securing a maximum lead of 3:25. "My teammates dropped me off 250 metres away from the finishing line," Bos described. "Moreno [Hofland] stayed in my wheel, that was great! We can never get bored of winning because it's not an easy task. You always have to be happy to win because you never know when is the next time, it can take a very long time."
Stage 6 might end up differently as the route is more difficult. "With more climbs on the course, it suits me better," race leader Hofland predicted. "I might be able to sprint for victory and not for second place. It would be nice, but my most important goal is to keep the yellow jersey and not lose any time."
|1||Theo Bos (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team||4:17:15|
|2||Moreno Hofland (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team|
|3||Boris Shpilevsky (Rus) RTS-Santic Racing Team|
|4||Yuriy Metlushenko (Ukr) Ukraine|
|5||Yannick Martinez (Fra) La Pomme Marseille|
|6||Maksym Averin (Ukr) Atlas Personal-Jakroo|
|7||Bartlomiej Matysiak (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice|
|8||Mykhailo Kononenko (Ukr) Ukraine|
|9||Justin Jules (Fra) La Pomme Marseille|
|10||Andris Smirnovs (Lat) Rietumu-Delfin|
|1||Moreno Hofland (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team||17:57:50|
|2||Frédéric Amorison (Bel) Crelan-Euphony||0:00:43|
|3||Theo Bos (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team||0:00:48|
|4||Thomas Leezer (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team||0:00:52|
|5||Fabian Schnaidt (Ger) Champion System Pro Cycling Team||0:00:55|
|6||Kevin Peeters (Bel) Crelan-Euphony|
|7||William Walker (Aus) Drapac Cycling||0:00:57|
|8||Christopher Williams (Aus) Team Novo Nordisk|
|9||Jos Van Emden (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team|
|10||José Gonçalves (Por) La Pomme Marseille||0:01:00|