LottoNL-Jumbo narrowly missed out on stage two victory at the Giro d'Italia as Moreno Hofland was passed in the final 25 metres by Elia Viviani (Team Sky) but the team enjoyed a visit to the podium as Bert-Jan Lindeman secured the first mountains jersey of the race just as Maarten Tjallingii did 12-months ago.
"It was a special day," sports director Frans Maassen said. "We asked the riders if they wanted to be in the early breakaway before the race, but nobody was really planning to attack. It was a surprise for us that Bert-Jan was there, nevertheless."
With Lindeman in the breakaway there was no impetus for the team to chase and the possibility of a jersey and a trip to the podium was becoming reality while a stage victory was also on the cards.
"When they ask you to attack, you have to try it at least," Lindeman said "That's why I broke away immediately when the race started. Afterwards, we took it easy for the whole day and I was aiming for the mountain sprint. When we're in the last two-hundred metres of such a climb, I'm normally strong enough to take the points."
With the jersey secured, the team turned its attention to preparing Hofland for the sprint as the Dutchman had confirmed his form with victory at the Tour de Yorkshire on the eve of the race. Disappointed to miss the team's first WorldTour win of 2015, Maassen said he was proud of the 23-year-old's finish who will have further chances throughout the race
"I thought that he was going to take it after he passed André Greipel [Lotto Soudal]," Maassen said. "It's a pity that was beaten by Viviani by such a small margin, but he delivered a very good final sprint."
Hofland explained that he though Greipel was the greatest challenge for victory and hadn't considering the fast finish of Team Sky's Italian track sprinter would spoil his dream of a debut grand tour stage win.
"When I caught Greipel, it seemed perfect," Hofland said. "When I looked to the right, I saw a wheel approaching. I tried to accelerate afterwards. We were almost at the finish line, but I just couldn't give anything more. It was just not good enough."
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