Theo Bos (Belkin) sprinted to his third straight victory and fourth overall at the Tour de Langkawi. Right now the Dutch rider has looked invincible at the Malaysian race, and is the hot favourite for a fifth in the final stage.
Bos was glowing in his praise of his teammates at the finish of stage nine, where he had to come from behind to take the victory. “We have a super team here and I’m really happy with the guys. It’s so much down to them. I always say to Brownie [Graeme Brown], just drop me off at 200 metres and he drop me off nine out of 10 times. So I’m really happy. He makes my job easy.”
Things haven’t always gone to plan for Belkin, with two breakaways making it to the finish, and Bos getting boxed in on stage six and finishing outside of the top 10. Aside from that, they have been on song in Langkawi, controlling the peloton on most days before the final kick to the line. Bos’ lead-out man Brown believes the team are nearing perfection when it comes to their sprint train.
“The team did an awesome job again. Theo is obviously the fastest, but as a team we’re riding not perfect but pretty close,” he said to Cyclingnews. “Hats off to Rick [Flens] and Jack [Bobridge] who have been closing all the breaks down and for taking me inside the last kilometre and Steven, he’s riding GC here but he’s still pulling full on the front.”
The risk of a lead-out man is suddenly finding yourself going backwards when the rest of the peloton is racing ahead. When he dropped Bos off at the required distance, Brown had a few moments of worry as he rounded the final high speed bend.
“I was a bit concerned in that last corner, because they all started passing me on both sides. I was stuck in the middle. I was actually very scared. It was a right, left corner and I was stuck in the middle with sprinters passing me on both sides. I was relieved when I saw that there were only 15 odd people there.”
Last season was a very successful one for the Belkin team and they finished second in terms of total wins with 38, 17 behind Omega Pharma-QuickStep. They still have a long way to go to reach those same heights, but with five already notched up, including Moreno Hofland's stage victory at the Vuelta a Andalucía, they are well on their way. Success breeds success and Brown thinks that they can add yet another in the final stage of Langkawi.
“I hope so, we’re on a roll. I think we’re in a winning mood. We’re not getting everything perfect but practice makes perfect.”