Paris-Nice: Stage 2 to Hofland


Win for a new name in the sprints, Moreno Hofland on stage 2 of Paris-Nice – Geraint Thomas up to 4th overall

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Paris-Nice: Stage 2 to Hofland 

Moreno Hofland Paris_nice

The stage was set for a remake of Sunday’s final showdown between Nacer Bouhanni and John Degenkolb at the finish of the long second stage in St Georges-sur-Baulche, but victory went to a third man, Moreno Hofland, who stole the show for his greatest victory to date.

The former under-23 Dutch champion, cleverly took Degenkolb’s wheel in the last 300 metres to surge and seal victory, leaving the German in the runner-up spot for the second day in succession. A liltle hampered by an ailing knee, Bouhanni still managed third place and retained his yellow jersey with a two seconds lead over the German.

Two-man breakaway
The start was given at 11:00 to an undetermined number or riders, 27 of them having been warned after failing to sign the start list. After 2.5 km, two riders broke clear – Anthony Delaplace (BSE) and Aleksejs Saramotins (IAM). Their lead grew steadily to reach a maximum of 11:40 at kilometre 33. In the first sprint of the day in Malesherbes (km 61.5), won by Delaplace ahead of Saramotins, Gianni Meersman (OPQ) collected one second to go level with Nacer Bouhanni on time in the GC.

Laborie strengthens polka-dot
The two escapees maintained a wide enough lead over the bunch to reach the only climb of the day, Cote de la Ferte-Loupiere (3rd cat) in the front, Saramotins crossing the top ahead of Delaplace. Polka-dot jersey holder Christophe Laborie added a point to his tally, 4:55 behind the pair, and strengthened his lead in the climbers classification.

Meersman crashes
As the pace increased in the last 30 kilometres, Andy Schleck (FTR), already dropped in the first stage, was again seen struggling at the back. On the first crossing of the line, while Saramotins beat Delaplace, Meersman collected one more second to move ahead of Bouhanni in the overall standings. But the Belgian was involved in a crash with 12 kms to go, with Edvald Boasson-Hagen (SKY), Lars Boom (BEL) and Tyler Farrar (GRS) and failed to make it back on time for the final sprint.

Hofland surges
With 12 kms to go, Saramotins parted company with Delaplace and went on his own. But he was reeled in with four kilometres to go after an impressive chasing work by Orica Greenedge riders. in the finale, Giant Shimano again worked perfectly to lead-out Degenkolb. But the German, beaten the day before by Bouhanni, had to be content with finishing second again, beaten this time by the unexpected Hofland.

Dutch tradition
At 22, the Dutchman had displayed the extent of his talent by finishing second in Kuurne-Brussels-Kurne this season behind Tom Boonen. He has now done even better and maintained Dutch tradition in the Burgundy stages of the Race to the Sun as the last three stages held in neighbouring Auxerre were also won by Dutch riders. Hofland’s own father, Peter, finished 5th in a Paris-Nice stage in 1984, riding as an amateur for the Dutch national team. He named his son after former Italian great Moreno Argentin.


“Lars Boom crashed, which was a pity because he was supposed to be my leadout man, so we had to improvise,” Hofland said. “With 2km to go, I was so far back I thought I had no chance. I found an opening on the left, and then Jos [Van Emden] took me to the front, and did such a great job dropping me off on the wheel of Degenkolb. Then I was able to make my sprint.”

Hofland’s victory carries on a family tradition of sorts. His father, Peter, rode to fifth in a stage during the 1984 Paris-Nice while riding for the Dutch amateur team.

“My dad was telling me about his race in Paris-Nice just last week. Now I am better than he is. That’s in the pocket,” Hofland said. “After finishing second at Kuurne, now to win at Paris-Nice, I just cannot believe it. It’s very special to win a stage in this race.”

1 HOFLAND Moreno Belkin-Pro Cycling Team 04:53:46
2 DEGENKOLB John Team Giant-Shimano
4 KRISTOFF Alexander Team Katusha
5 HUSHOVD Thor BMC Racing Team
6 COQUARD Bryan Team Europcar
7 FONSECA Armindo Bretagne РS̩ch̩ Environnement
8 GALLOPIN Tony Lotto Belisol
10 ROJAS José Joaquin Movistar Team
11 DUMOULIN Samuel AG2R La Mondiale
12 TRUSOV Nikolay Tinkoff-Saxo
13 BOZIC Borut Astana Pro Team
14 THOMAS Geraint Team Sky
15 MARCATO Marco Cannondale
16 VAN AVERMAET Greg BMC Racing Team 00:05
17 NAVARDAUSKAS Ramunas Garmin Sharp
18 BETANCUR Carlos AG2R La Mondiale
19 FELLINE Fabio Trek Factory Racing
20 CHAVANEL Sylvain IAM Cycling 00:07

24 BOONEN Tom Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
53 COSTA Rui Lampre – Merida
55 STYBAR Zdenek Omega Pharma – Quick-Step 18
84 YATES Simon Orica GreenEDGE
90 SCHLECK Fränk Trek Factory Racing
116 GERRANS Simon Orica GreenEDGE
128 CUMMINGS Stephen BMC Racing Team 01:09
129 VOECKLER Thomas Team Europcar 01:10
130 GOSS Matthew Orica GreenEDGE
143 PHINNEY Taylor BMC Racing Team 05:28
145 ROWE Luke Team Sky
151 BOASSON HAGEN Edvald Team Sky
152 SCHLECK Andy Trek Factory Racing 06:46
153 BRESCHEL Matti Tinkoff-Saxo

1 BOUHANNI Nacer 08:46:43
2 DEGENKOLB John Team Giant-Shimano 00:02
3 HOFLAND Moreno Belkin-Pro Cycling Team 00:04
4 THOMAS Geraint Team Sky 00:13
5 COQUARD Bryan Team Europcar 00:14
6 ROJAS José Joaquin Movistar Team
7 KRISTOFF Alexander Team Katusha
8 TRUSOV Nikolay Tinkoff-Saxo
9 DUMOULIN Samuel AG2R La Mondiale
10 KEUKELEIRE Jens Orica GreenEDGE
11 MARCATO Marco Cannondale
12 GALLOPIN Tony Lotto Belisol
13 WACKERMANN Luca Lampre – Merida
14 VAN AVERMAET Greg BMC Racing Team 00:17
15 FELLINE Fabio Trek Factory Racing 00:19
16 BETANCUR Carlos AG2R La Mondiale
17 CHAVANEL Sylvain IAM Cycling 00:20
18 ZINGLE Romain Cofidis, Solutions Crédits 00:21
19 BOONEN Tom Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
20 JEANNESSON Arnold ,


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