MARANG, Malaysia (VN) — Theo Bos (Belkin) is doing what he loves doing best: winning. He won the eighth stage of Malaysia’s Tour de Langkawi Thursday, his third so far at the 2014 race, in a sprint.
“My goal is only to win races,” the 30-year-old told VeloNews. “Of course I have my dream goals, like every sprinter, to win big races like Scheldeprijs, but my value to the team is just to win races.”
Bos is building toward this spring’s Scheldeprijs. He races that with other smaller stage races like the Tour of Belgium and Ster ZLM Toer this year. However, he has no plans to race Milano-Sanremo or the Tour de France.
“Of course, winning a Tour stage is a dream goal for every rider, but I have to be realistic,” Bos said. “It’s really difficult to make the squad with classification riders.”
Bos began his career on the track. He collected five world titles and won a silver medal at the 2004 Olympics. He switched to the road with Rabobank Continental Team in 2009, jumped over to Cervélo TestTeam for 2010, and then joined Rabobank, now Belkin, a year later.
He once was the fastest man in the world with the 200-meter track record. On the road, he won stages in Turkey, China, Malaysia, France, and at home in the Netherlands. However, riders like Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) and Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) rule the big sprints.
“I beat them sometimes but they are more consistent beating me,” Bos said.
Said Belkin’s sport director Michiel Elijzen: “I don’t think he lacks anything over the top guys. His speed is phenomenal. On a good day, he can beat everybody.
“What he lacks is the way he feels towards the sprint because Cavendish and Kittel are all-around riders. They can handle long races and go up hills OK. Coming from the track, that’s the thing that Theo lacks the most. He’s working really hard on it. The gap of getting fresher to the finish is getting smaller.”
Elijzen said the distance and the Poggio climb prevent Bos from winning Sanremo. Scheldeprijs, he added, suits him well. He already placed third in 2012 behind Kittel and Tyler Farrar. He heads down the right path because win-wise, this is his best season start along with last year, when he won three early races.
“It’s a confidence boost. He wasn’t able to sprint a lot in the Tour of Qatar because he crashed and missed echelons,” Elizjen said. “Sprinting here is making up for that race. We are training the leadout train here and building up his confidence towards the Scheldeprijs, which is important.”
Bos collected his flowers for the eighth stage. He looked up at the podium and the crowd. These smaller UCI WorldTour and HC-ranked races suit him well.
“This is my thing, winning races,” Bos said. “It’s better to do these kind of races and to get the feeling of winning instead of riding big races and focusing on winning one big races. If you don’t win that one big race then you are empty handed at the end of the season.
“Maybe sometimes the big one comes to you when you aren’t always chasing it.”