With four wins in only his second season as a road rider, Theo Bos (Cervelo TestTeam) appears to be making a success of his switch from track racing. And the Dutchman says that his progress has made decide to make the switch permanent.
Although he will still ride the boards occasionally - and could even turn his hand to the omnium or team pursuit at the 2012 Olympics in London - he says his days as a track sprinter are well and truly behind him.
For a former world sprint champion and 200m world record holder, that's a big career change. But Bos insists that he is now committed to the road and that there is no chance of him competing at the London Olympics in 2012 as a purely track sprinter.
"I watched the world track championships [in Copenhagen] very closely," said Bos. "Of course I wished I was there a bit, because they're always good to watch - it's the highlight of the track season and really special. But then again, Paris-Roubaix [which Bos rode a couple of weeks later] is also really special."
"I prefer the regularity of road racing," Bos continued. "On the track it's one big race per season and it's difficult to focus all year on that. But on the road it's a totally different lifestyle. You have a target in front of you, and then another and another. If a race doesn't work out, you have another chance the next day, or the day after. Of course, if you have a good result, you can't sit back - you have to do it again. But I like that. And I'm happy with the steps I've made so far. I feel my form is okay, but not special at the moment. I'm not quite there yet, but I think it'll come eventually. I have to be patient."
In his first season as a road rider Bos was given a one month suspension for dangerous riding at the Tour of Turkey, when he caused South Africa's Daryl Impey to crash heavily in a sprint finish. One of his old track rivals, Britain's Sir Chris Hoy, was among those who defended Bos' reputation in the aftermath of that incident, noting that the Dutchman had always been a clean and fair rider, and suggesting that the incident owed more to inexperience rather than malice.
A change of teams, from Rabobank to Cervelo TestTeam during the winter, and a flying start to 2010, means that Bos has been able to put the episode behind him - and importantly, so has Impey, who is now with Lance Armstrong's RadioShack team.
The 26-year-old Bos eventually hopes to make an impact in the sprints at Grand Tours, with the Vuelta the target for this year, and perhaps the Tour de France in 2011. "I hope I can do the Vuelta at the end of the season, that's my goal," said Bos. "A stage win there would be really nice but it's so far ahead. I don't really look at results or at winning this year - I'm just trying to improve. I've made a good start to the season but I know I have to be really patient. It's sometimes difficult, and you can try and progress too quickly. Patience is what's so important."
"I still do some training on the track," he added, "and some track racing, but not sprinting any more. I can ride the Madison, the team pursuit, maybe the omnium. These are events that suit me now, because I've lost five or six kilograms, mainly in the upper body. But I'm definitely not going back to track sprinting now."
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