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“It was extremely hot today,” he said. “It felt like we were riding through an oven. That made it extra hard for Moreno Hofland and the other sprinters to survive the final climb. Laurens, however, did a good job," Ve...

Photo: A.S.O.










16.05.2014 @ 13:52 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

After stage four, Belkin had said that stage five would be a good opportunity for a fast classics rider like Moreno Hofland but the Dutchman missed the chance to sprint against the likes of Matthew Goss and Peter Sagan. San Marcos Pass featured in the finale and the only Belkin rider to make it over with the best was Laurens Ten Dam who has set his sights on the top 5.


Belkin Pro Cycling TEAM's Laurens ten Dam held his own on Thursday’s fifth stage of the 2014 Amgen Tour of California as BMC’s American Taylor Phinney soloed to the win in the 174-kilometre ride from Pismo Beach to Santa Barbara. The Dutchman finished in the first group of GC riders and will start Friday’s crucial, and tough, mountain stage in ninth place overall. 

A first-category climb up and over San Marcos Pass near the end of the stage proved too much for most of the Belkin Pro Cycling TEAM squad, though one rider in green and black was able to wow the crowd. Veteran Maarten Wynants, again part of the breakaway du jour, tried to stay out of reach of the approaching peloton with an vicious attack on the pass, but his attempt faltered before the top. 


“I knew it was going to be difficult because our lead was never bigger than 2 minutes,” said Wynants, 32, on his attack. “The peloton kept us firmly under control. I think they learned their lesson yesterday, when a break held on until the line. Perhaps, they couldn’t close the gap with Phinney because we exhausted them.” 

Sports Director Nico Verhoeven had a lot of respect for the riders afterwards.


“It was extremely hot today,” he said. “It felt like we were riding through an oven. That made it extra hard for Moreno Hofland and the other sprinters to survive the final climb. Laurens, however, did a good job.” 


Friday, the peloton will ride from Santa Clarita to Mountain High. The 151-kilometer stage finishes at an altitude of more than 2,000 meters. 

“After the time trial and stage 3, this is another important day for the classification riders,” said an ambitious Verhoeven. “Lauren's crash is no longer an issue; he’s doing well and determined. Top five is our goal.” 



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