Stage 4: Qionghai - Wanning
Belkin Pro Cycling continues its domination on Chinese soil as Theo Bos won his third stage in a row and Moreno Hofland retained the lead in the overall classification even though he didn't finish second this time around. Synergy Baku's Rico Rogers and Kevin Peeters of Crelan-Euphony came second and third respectively.
"It's always nice to win, but this victory is a little bit different from the other two and it was a harder one to get as well," Bos reacted immediately. "A breakaway went from the start. We had three riders in it but not Moreno, so we hesitated for a while. We wondered what to do and we decided to close the gap. Later a breakaway of three riders went and it was not as easy as the other days to control. They were riding pretty fast at the front."
The three adventurers of the day were Thomas Rostollan (La Pomme Marseille), Vitaly Buts (Ukraine) and Liu Yilin (Hengxiang). They got a maximum lead of 5:28 at half way into the race. Buts won the first King of the Mountain prize of the Tour of Hainan. "That was my goal and my reason for breaking away," said the Ukrainian who will celebrate his 27th birthday with the polka dot jersey during stage 5.
Just like his compatriot Aandriy Vasylyuk the day before, the former Lampre rider (from 2008 to 2012) continued solo. He still had an advantage of 1:25 over the peloton with 15km to go but got reined in at the 10km to go mark.
Bos won another bunch sprint but underlined that it's getting harder and harder. "So far, I'm happy with the speed I feel in my legs, and once again, my lead out man Lars Boom dropped me off at a perfect timing for sprinting," said the Dutchman who keeps breaking records in Hainan and won three stages in the same race for the first time in his career. "But the course will be harder in the coming days. Today in the small hills, I could already feel the legs heavier. However, I'm getting used to racing in China. It's nice to see the big crowds and people with a smile on their face when we ride through the villages."
At the difference of the previous two stages, Hofland didn't deliver the 1-2 that made the Belkin team so proud. "I got boxed in and I couldn't follow Theo anymore," the young Dutch leader said. "But I didn't lose any time on GC and that was my objective. I even increased my lead by one second by finishing third in an intermediate sprint. But I hope that tomorrow I can be second to Theo again."
With a score of nine victories in total in 2013 and five more stages to be contested at the Tour of Hainan, Bos is two wins away from entering the top 5 of the world's most prolific sprinters of the year behind Peter Sagan (22), Mark Cavendish (19), Marcel Kittel (16) and André Greipel (13).
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Theo Bos (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team||4:18:12|
|2||Rico Dene Thomas Rogers (Aus) Synergy Baku Cycling Project|
|3||Kevin Peeters (Bel) Crelan-Euphony|
|4||Boris Shpilevsky (Rus) RTS|
|5||Yuriy Metlushenko (Ukr) Ukraine|
|6||Yannick Martinez (Fra) La Pomme Marseille|
|7||Anuar Manan (Mas) Synergy Baku Cycling Project|
|8||Bartlomiej Matysiak (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice|
|9||José Gonçalves (Por) La Pomme Marseille|
|10||Justin Jules (Fra) La Pomme Marseille|
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Moreno Hofland (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team||13:40:45|
|2||Frédéric Amorison (Bel) Crelan-Euphony||0:00:33|
|3||Thomas Leezer (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team||0:00:43|
|4||Kevin Peeters (Bel) Crelan-Euphony||0:00:45|
|5||Fabian Schnaidt (Ger) Champion System Pro Cycling Team||0:00:47|
|6||William Walker (Aus) Drapac Cycling|
|7||Jos Van Emden (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team|
|8||Christopher Williams (Aus) Team Novo Nordisk|
|9||Theo Bos (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team||0:00:48|
|10||José Gonçalves (Por) La Pomme Marseille||0:00:50|
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