The Belkin team continued their domination at the 2013 Tour of Hainan as race leader Moreno Hofland claimed his third stage victory in Danzhou and made it eight out of eight for the Dutch squad.
It was another bunch gallop but a much tighter win than the day before when Belkin captured the first four places and five-time stage winner Theo Bos went missing as he couldn’t follow the high rhythm of the main pack in the second climb 40km from the finishing line.
“On paper it was an easier stage than two days ago,” Hofland acknowledged.
“But the riders made it a harder race in the second category climb [with 65km to go]. The peloton split in different groups. We were five Belkin riders at the front so the situation was good for us but Theo was dropped. The CCC Polsat team controlled the race in the hills zone to get the points for the KOM [for polka dot jersey Mateusz Taciak who retained the lead]. We helped them a bit and managed to keep the race under control.”
Attackers Grégoire Tarride (La Pomme Marseille), Oleksandr Polivoda (Atlas Personal-Jakroo) and Ukraine’s Andriy Vasylyuk had no chance to stay away once again. The finale in Danzhou was very different finale from the previous day in Dongfang as the sprint came at the end of a 3.4km finishing straight.
Taking second on the stage was former polka dot jersey wearer Vitaly Buts, who was left fuming because of the missed opportunity to beat Belkin. “It was so close," the Ukrainian said.
“200 metres before the line, I was boxed in,” Hofland said. “But Lars Boom moved to the right. It opened a gap for me and the outcome was very good. Now for sure we’ll try to win again and make it nine victories out of nine stages tomorrow. It’ll probably be a bunch sprint and Theo is the fastest guy in the peloton. It should be awesome! But we must stay aware that the peloton is really nervous and every second, something can happen. It’s another 148 kilometres to go. We’ll celebrate the Tour of Hainan only after winning it really.”
Jiao Pengda can eye happiness for the grand finale in Chengmai as well. “It’ll be nice to ride with the blue jersey," said the Chinese rider from Champion System who moved into the lead in the continental classification.
“But during the race, I had no idea where my competitors Liu Yilin and Cheong King Wai were. I only focused on staying with the yellow jersey and I realized later that they were dropped and I’d become the best Asian rider.”
As the Tour of Hainan is Champion System’s last race before the Chinese-registered Pro Continental team shuts down, Jiao is close to rewarding team promoter Louis Shih for his two-year effort as a sponsor.
|1||Moreno Hofland (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team||4:18:53|
|2||Vitaliy Buts (Ukr) Ukraine|
|3||Lars Boom (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team|
|4||Mykhailo Kononenko (Ukr) Ukraine|
|5||Maksym Averin (Ukr) Atlas Personal-Jakroo|
|6||William Walker (Aus) Drapac Cycling|
|7||Bartlomiej Matysiak (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice|
|8||Frédéric Amorison (Bel) Crelan-Euphony|
|9||Justin Jules (Fra) La Pomme Marseille|
|10||Marek Rutkiewicz (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice|
|1||Moreno Hofland (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team||30:06:59|
|2||Frédéric Amorison (Bel) Crelan-Euphony||0:01:07|
|3||Thomas Leezer (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team||0:01:14|
|4||Jos Van Emden (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team||0:01:17|
|5||William Walker (Aus) Drapac Cycling||0:01:21|
|6||Mykhailo Kononenko (Ukr) Ukraine||0:01:22|
|7||Darío Hernández (Spa) Burgos BH-Castilla y Leon||0:01:24|
|8||Adrian Honkisz (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice|
|9||Volodymyr Zagorodniy (Ukr) Ukraine||0:01:28|
|10||Darren Lapthorne (Aus) Drapac Cycling|