Race leader Moreno Hofland added one more win to the counter of Belkin Pro Cycling to make it six out of six stages as he crossed the line first in the charming town of Wuzhishan at the end of an uphill sprint. In the absence of Theo Bos who got dropped in the last hill with 20km to go, Lars Boom secured one more 1-2 for the Dutch squad, while Synergy Baku's Christoph Schweizer took the third place.
"It's too bad we lost Theo, so we did the sprint for Moreno with a perfect lead out by Tom Leezer," Boom told Cyclingnews. "It could have been an opportunity for me to grab a stage win but it's a pleasure to help a young rider like Moreno develop and gain confidence for sprinting. He's doing really well and everyone in the team does his job."
With two second category climbs on the menu, the race became too hard for Theo Bos to win a fifth stage in a row. "I managed to get back on after the first climb but not the second one, despite the help of Dennis van Winden to take me across," the former track sprinter explained. "It doesn't matter because my teammates have finished the job at perfection once again."
Belkin didn't allow any breakaway to take shape. They rode behind a duo formed at the front by Marek Rutkewicz (CCC Polsat) and Clément Saint-Martin (La Pomme Marseille). "A lot of guys are only one minute down on GC, so we have to be very careful with who goes away," Hofland explained to justify why the Dutch team keeps racing hard every day without leaving much freedom to others.
"There were a lot of attacks at the beginning of the race but Marc Goos set a strong pace in the climbs, so there was no gap to the leaders really. We're on a winning mood, that's why we keep it that way. I'm glad that I was able to win the sprint with a good lead out and that we were able to get first and second place again with Lars."
As Belkin looks unbeatable, other teams worked for positions. José Gonçalves of La Pomme Marseille gained four seconds bonus in the intermediate sprints to move up to sixth place overall. Stage 7 might be different from the previous ones because it begins with the only first category climb whose summit is located 9.6km after the start in Wuzhishan and followed by 200km of flat roads on the west coast of the Hainan tropical island.
"It's not exactly our goal to win nine stages out of nine," said Boom, "but if it happens, it's not bad, we're the strongest team here after all."
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Moreno Hofland (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team||2:36:43|
|2||Lars Boom (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team|
|3||Christoph Schweizer (Ger) Synergy Baku Cycling Project|
|4||Boris Shpilevsky (Rus) RTS|
|5||Rico Dene Thomas Rogers (Aus) Synergy Baku Cycling Project|
|6||Maksym Averin (Ukr) Atlas Personal-Jakroo|
|7||Bartlomiej Matysiak (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice|
|8||Kevin Peeters (Bel) Crelan-Euphony|
|9||Aandriy Vasylyuk (Ukr) Ukraine|
|10||Thomas Palmer (Aus) Drapac Cycling|
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Moreno Hofland (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team||20:34:23|
|2||Frédéric Amorison (Bel) Crelan-Euphony||0:00:53|
|3||Thomas Leezer (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team||0:01:02|
|4||Fabian Schnaidt (Ger) Champion System Pro Cycling Team||0:01:05|
|5||Kevin Peeters (Bel) Crelan-Euphony|
|6||José Gonçalves (Por) La Pomme Marseille||0:01:06|
|7||William Walker (Aus) Drapac Cycling||0:01:07|
|8||Christopher Williams (Aus) Team Novo Nordisk|
|9||Jos Van Emden (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team|
|10||Mykhailo Kononenko (Ukr) Ukraine||0:01:08|
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