Theo Bos lost 10:34 and the red race leader's jersey on stage two of the Tour of Oman but he was still smiling at the finish after basking in the glory of his previous day’s sprint win and 24 hours in the spotlight.
Bos was dropped on the steep climb during the stage and despite a huge effort by his Rabobank teammates, he never saw the front group again.
"We expected that some sprinters would survive and get over the climb and they pushed the tempo to get rid of the other sprinters. It was just too hard for me to follow," he told Cyclingnews.
"I had some teammates with me and we tried to come back up. We made it to the Boonen group and we got close to the first group but they were pulling really hard and it was impossible to get them back."
Despite losing time Bos was pleased with his performance.
"It was good to see where I stand when there's a climb like that one. It wasn't easy and I think I can be better. I gave 100% but was just not good enough," he said.
"I'm satisfied with how things have gone for me here in Oman. I won a stage and wore the jersey for a day. I'm pleased with that and there's still Thursday’s stage which could end in a sprint and then final stage to centre of Muscat that ends with a circuit. My Tour of Oman isn’t over yet.”
Bos is still only 27 but was a five-time track sprint world champion. He is now in his third year on the road after riding for the Rabobank Continental team in 2009 and then Cervélo Test Team in 2010.
He was banned for a month after causing Daryl Impey to crash in the 2009 Tour of Turkey, but showed some progression in 2010 when he won four minor races. He was also in the mix in several other sprints but perhaps lacked that bit of technique, end of race speed and courage to turn placings into victories.
This year it is easy to see that Bos has more of a road racer’s physique. He has less upper body muscle and is generally leaner. He reveals that extra strength and experience has given him a vital edge in the sprints.
"They say that your tactics and skills are as good as your legs let you be. A lot of riders understand when it is the right moment to sprint but if you don’t have the legs to do it, you don’t get a result," he explained.
"I think I'm stronger than last year in lots of ways and so I think I've got more room to play with and so can make better tactical decisions in sprints. I'm more comfortable in the final kilometre and so can focus on the sprinting and holding the wheel of the rider in front of me. That's a big step for me and makes a big difference."
Bos has no regrets about abandoning a high-profile and well-paid career on the track to test his ability on the road.
"I'm more convinced than ever that I made the right decision to switch from the track to the road," he said. "It was an instinctive decision at the time and it wasn't only about what I could achieve on the road because above all, you have to enjoy what you do.
"I've set some goals for myself and making progression and improvement is what is important to me. I don't focus only on my results but of course winning is always better than losing."
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Stephen is the most experienced member of the Cyclingnews team, having reported on professional cycling since 1994. He has held the position of European editor since 2012 and previously worked for Reuters, Shift Active Media, and Cycling Weekly, among other publications.