Jos van Emden: “I think I pulled for 100km, but it was the temperature that killed me!”
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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Jos van Emden: “I think I pulled for 100km, but it was the temperature that killed me!”

by Ben Atkins at 12:35 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de Langkawi
The engine room behind the success of Theo Bos copes with the heat of Langkawi

jos van emdenBlanco Pro Cycling’s Jos van Emden has come to le Tour de Langkawi for one reason, and one reason only: to chase down breaks for super sprinter Theo Bos. Although there are a number of big name sprinters in the 2013 race, Blanco is the only team that has the almost sole aim of taking stage victories, and it is down to riders like van Emden to make sure that this is possible.

As a former Netherlands time trial champion, the big 28-year-old has one of the most powerful engines in the Dutch team. For a big rider, however, the high temperatures compared to his native country make his job that little bit more difficult.

Van Emden spent most of the first stage in the lead position of the peloton, keeping a three-man break under control and then hauling them back in the finish. Having done so much work, the Dutchman was one of the few riders to finish behind the peloton that day, and he spoke to VeloNation as he prepared for the next.

“Naturally,” he said, confirming that he had spent a hard day on the front. “It wasn’t that long. I think I pulled for 100km, but it was the temperature that killed me! That was the biggest factor, I think. Sometimes other riders joined me, and they went for 15 minutes, and then they were killed too, so it was the heat.”

Van Emden’s work was well worth it in the end however, as Bos delivered an emphatic victory at the finish in Kulim.

“I hope I’ve recovered,” said van Emden, “but I think so. We had a healing victory, yeah.”

Stage two was set to be a similar proposition, with a breakaway expected to go early, with the sprinters’ teams expected to chase it down. As the team with the yellow jersey - and seemingly the strongest sprinter - in Bos, the others would doubtless look to Blanco to do the lion’s share of the work, but van Emden wasn’t expecting to do too much of it himself after his opening day exertions.

“If necessary I will, but we will switch a bit,” he said. “So I hope I have an easier day today, but I think the [2nd category] climb will be tough enough, so let’s see how the race develops.”

Blanco started the race with four riders entirely dedicated to Bos, with van Emden, Jetse Bol, Tom Leezer, and lead out man Graeme Brown. This, van Emden explained, might well grow to five in the second half of the race, depending on the performance of youngster Marc Goos on the mountain stages.

“It’s all for Theo,” van Emden confirmed. “We’ve got one climber with us, but he’s a neo [pro] so we don’t put too much pressure on him. He can have a go tomorrow [on Cameron Highlands on stage three], and then we’ll see if he’s able to do a GC, and if not then...

“Let’s say now it’s 99% Theo, and then it will be 100% Theo,” he smiled.

Van Emden did in fact have a slightly easier day on stage two - where Bos won again - and was able to hide in the gruppetto on stage three as the team willingly let breakaway rider Wang Meiyin of Hengxiang take over Bos’ yellow jersey.

Unfortunately for Goos, however, the 22-year-old was just unable to stay with the big names on the final climb. He finished six minutes behind Wang, and almost three minutes behind the race favourites, and wase called upon to line up alongside van Emden, and do his bit for Theo Bos in the pursuit of the stage four break.


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