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“People expect that I win again but there’s a mountain top finish this year on stage 7. The route profile is less to my advantage than last year. So we’ll target stage wins first,” Hofland said.

Photo: A.S.O.

MORENO HOFLAND

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TOUR OF HAINAN

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20.10.2014 @ 12:16 Posted by Aleksandra Górska

Moreno Hofland established himself as one of the most promising sprinters of professional riders’ youngest generation at the Tour of Hainan last year, when he took event’s general classification with three stage victories on the way. It was a season of ups and downs for the 23-year old Dutchman in 2014 and so the Belkin rider hopes to finish it on a positive note in a Chinese event. He emphasized, however, that they will focus almost entirely on stage hunting instead of last year’s title defense.

 

The Tour of Hainan is a very important event for Belkin Procycling sponsors, who certainly had to be pleased with their performances in last year’s edition. The Dutch team was unchallenged in the Chinese race last season, winning all stages and the general classification courtesy of Theo Bos and Moreno Hofland.

 

“China is a big market for Belkin,” said Hofland of the exiting sponsor whose green colours will appear for the last time in a road race at the Tour of Hainan.

 

Belkin returned to the event again this year and kicked off their campaign in a best possible way – winning its opening stage with Hofland on Monday, but the young Dutchman emphasized that pursuing a success in the general classification will be a difficult goal this time as a mountain stage is expected to sort out the hierarchy.

 

“I liked the race last year and not only because I won it. I also like racing at the end of the season. It helped me start the following season on form. Reporters in Europe asked me a lot about the Tour of Hainan and how much it’s been a milestone in my career. It's been important. The team had confidence in me before my win but much more after it.”

 

“People expect that I win again but there’s a mountain top finish this year on stage 7. The route profile is less to my advantage than last year. So we’ll target stage wins first,” Hofland explained.

 

“We have Barry Markus and Graeme Brown who can also win bunch sprints. We’ll start from there and if we can get a good overall ranking we’ll go for it as well but we might not win everything this year. With Astana and Lampre-Merida, the level is a bit higher than last year.”

 

The 23-year old Dutchman missed out on stage victories in recently concluded Tour of Beijing, finishing fourth, fifth and sixth in bunch sprints, but insisted that he came out of the event with a more consistent form than last year.

 

“I went pretty well at the Tour of Beijing”, he said. “I didn’t win any stages, I finished fourth, fifth and sixth but I felt strong. Last year I got a third place but I was more solid this time around. It makes me confident for the Tour of Hainan.”

 

Looking back at his 2014 season, talented Hofland certainly had hoped for more after a highly promising spring with stages claimed at the Vuelta a Andalucia, Paris-Nice and victory in the Volta Limburg Classic, but an injury and chest infection disrupted his performances in the summer.

 

“I’m happy with my results but I crashed at the Tour of California and I’ve been sick on a few occasions”, he explained.

 

“I pulled out of the Vuelta (after stage eight) because of an infection in my throat three weeks after the same thing happened at the Tour of Utah. I think the altitude training camps cost me too much energy. I’m young and the experience helped me know more about myself. I hope to do a Grand Tour again next year and I’ll train for it at sea level.”

 

“I would have liked to be more consistent this year. When I was good, I was really good, otherwise I was sick. But had I been told that I’d win a stage at Paris-Nice and four other races, I would have signed up for it at the beginning of the year.”

 

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