First pro win for Moreno Hofland

Belkin takes power from day 1

Being the only WorldTour Team on the start list of the eighth Tour of Hainan with 133 riders representing 31 countries, Belkin Pro Cycling appeared as a hot favorite to succeed Astana who have won the past three editions with Valentin Iglinskiy (twice) and Dimitri Gruzdev. Although many were expecting a bunch sprint for Theo Bos, it was Moreno Hofland came into the spotlight instead as the 22-year-old took the win into Chengmai – a town renowned for the people's longevity – from a 15-man breakaway group that took shape after fifteen kilometers.

"It feels great to win my first pro race," said Hofland who outsprinted Belgium's Frédéric Amorison of Crelan-Euphony. "I finished third [behind Argos-Shimano's Luka Mezgec and former French champion Nacer Bouhanni from FDJ.fr] of the last stage of the Tour of Beijing, so I came straight to the Tour of Hainan with confidence. Our plan was to go for a bunch sprint with Theo but we got a nice group away with three guys from Belkin."

The breakaway was composed of Jos van Emden, Hofland and Tom Leezer (Belkin), Kevin Peeters and Amorison (Crelan-Euphony), Adrian Honkisz (CCC Polsat), Chris Williams (Novonordisk), Fabian Schnaidt (Champion System), José Gonçalves (La Pomme-Marseille), Dario Hernandez (Burgos-BH), William Walker and Darren Lapthorne (Drapac), Mykhailo Kononenko and Volodymyr Zagorodny (Ukraine) and Connor McConvey (Synergy Baku). Their maximum advantage was 1:57 with 20km to go. "In the last 50km, riders kept attacking," Bos explained. "But no team controlled the pace really. For us, it was a perfect situation with three of our guys at the front. My legs are good. I won the bunch sprint, which is also a good sign for the coming days."

"Belkin is the strongest team on paper here," admitted Amorison. "It's the team to follow. With 6km to go, I attacked and Hofland came across. I knew he was faster than me so I have no regret. It's also no surprise to see another rider from Belkin [Leezer] to take third place behind us and there's a high chance for Belkin to dominate the rest of the Tour as well."

The Dutchman from Rosendaal who studied at the college named under football legend Johan Cruyff might already have made an important step towards the overall victory as there is no mountain stage this year and he has proven during his three years in the U23 category with the Rabobank continental team that he is a versatile rider with several stage wins at the Kreizh Breizh Elite and the Tour de l'Avenir.

"The two intermediate sprints and the time bonus I took today give me an interesting margin to defend the jersey," Hofland said ahead of the eight remaining stages. "The profile of the Tour of Hainan suits me well. But we also have other options at Belkin with Lars Boom who can go in breakaways and is fast as well."

 

Brief Results
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Moreno Hofland (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team1:46:36 
2Frédéric Amorison (Bel) Crelan-Euphany0:00:06 
3Tom Leezer (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team0:00:17 
4Fabian Schnaidt (Ger) Champion System  
5Mykhaylo Kononenko (Ukr) Ukraine  
6Adrian Honkisz (Pol) CCC Polsat  
7Kevin Peeters (Bel) Crelan-Euphany  
8Jos Van Emden (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team  
9William Walker (Aus) Drapac Cycling Team  
10José Gonçalves (Por) La Pomme Marseille  
General classification after stage 1
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Moreno Hofland (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team1:46:20 
2Frédéric Amorison (Bel) Crelan-Euphany0:00:16 
3Tom Leezer (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team0:00:26 
4Jos Van Emden (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team0:00:30 
5Fabian Schnaidt (Ger) Champion System0:00:33 
6Mykhaylo Kononenko (Ukr) Ukraine  
7Adrian Honkisz (Pol) CCC Polsat  
8Jos Van Emden (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team  
9William Walker (Aus) Drapac Cycling Team  
10José Gonçalves (Por) La Pomme Marseille  

 

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