Moreno Hofland sprinted to a long anticipated first win of the season for Team LottoNL-Jumbo on Saturday, as the Dutchman was unmatched in the bunch kick of the second stage of the Tour de Yorkshire.
“I’m very pleased that we are now rid of the hateful nil,” Hofland said. “I had a difficult start of the season, things didn’t go as planned, but hopefully we can keep this trend going. I was already full of morale, but this gives me an extra boost in the run-up to the Giro d’Italia. It would be great if I can do something like this again over there in Italy.”
The 23-year-old Hofland started the sprint in York in fifth position. When a gap opened on the left side of the road, the Dutchman didn’t hesitate. With a mighty final jump, he beat Matteo Pelluchi (IAM Cycling) and Ramon Sinkeldam (Giant-Alpecin) for the win.
“I sat in Robert Wagner’s wheel for the final 40 kilometres. He dropped me off at the front for the sprint. After that, I chose to follow Pelluchi. I waited until the 200 metres sign and then used my speed to pass the others ,” Hofland said of the sprint.
The Dutchman enjoyed the atmosphere along the way. “It was not normal. All those fans! In some villages, people were three or four rows deep. Very cool!”
Sports Director Nico Verhoeven was very content with the victory in the 174-kilometer stage from Selby to York.
“This is very nice, of course. As a team we fought really hard for this win. Initially, Timo Roosen was in a break of 16, and so we didn’t have to chase. When he and the seven other riders were caught, we still had to join the hunt though. In the final 80 kilometres we had to dig extremely deep, because Giant-Alpecin's Bert De Backer (who managed to stay ahead until the last kilometre, ed.) proved very tough to beat.
“The whole team has worked hard and long for this first victory. Of course there is some kind of relief.”
Verhoeven hopes Steven Kruijswijk can compete with the overall riders in Sunday’s third and final stage, a difficult ride with several climbs.
“Steven crashed yesterday because of bad luck, but today he felt pretty good. A crash always has a negative influence. We’ll see if Steven is recovered enough to be in the mix tomorrow.”