Jelly Belly p/b Kenda riders are riding like champs at the Tour of Qinghai Lake in China.
Ricardo van der Velde has placed in the top 10 three times after seven stages of the 13-stage race. In addition, Jelly Belly p/b Kenda has had riders in the breakaway in three stages and repeatedly placed high up in the team classification.
Stage 7, a 104-km flat circuit race, was the best stage yet for the team, with only one plan: to protect van der Velde and lead him out for the win.
“He has been close to winning several times,” said team director Danny Van Haute.
A breakaway escaped with Jelly Belly’s Luis Lemus in the mix, building a 1:30 lead.
“This stage was on TV, so Jelly Belly p/b Kenda received a lot of coverage since Luis is the Mexican national champion riding in China,” Van Haute said.
With one lap to go, the breakaway was caught and van der Velde drove to the front. His teammates rode hard to lead him out, and he was sixth across the finish line. Christiaan Kriek was not far behind in 11th place, and Lemus placed second in one of the day’s sprint competitions.
Van der Velde now sits in 13th place in the GC with six stages to go.
“We are doing so well and I’m eager to see more strong results from the riders,” Van Haute said.
Sergio Hernandez, Alex Hagman and Menso de Jong are also representing the team in China. A Chinese television station is following the team every day and plans to air a feature on Jelly Belly p/b Kenda at the end of the race, which continues through July 12.