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by Shane Stokes
October 12, 2017
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Moreno Hofland took his first win of the season on Wednesday, showing his speed in the finale of the Famenne Ardenne Classic in Belgium. The Dutch Lotto-Soudal rider outsprinted Emiel Vermeulen (Roubaix-Lille Métropole), Maxime Vantomme (WB-Veranclassic-Aqua Protect) and the rest of a reduced main bunch into Marche-en-Famenne.
“I am very happy with this victory. I had to wait for almost two years for it so it makes the win a little bit more special,” he said. “Attacks were flying in the finale but our team was strong and a sprint was inevitable. Tosh Van der Sande led me out perfectly and I launched my sprint 200 meters from the line. The finish was a little bit uphill and I’m glad I could finish it off after all that my team-mates had done. It’s definitely a team victory today.”
The 195 kilometre race saw a move of six riders quickly get clear. David Boucher (Pauwels Sauzen-Vastgoedservice), Marten Kooistra (SEG Racing Academy), Jerome Mainard (Armee de Terre), Kenny Molly (AGO – Aqua Service), Maxim Rusnac (Team Differdange-Losch) and Lander Seynaeve (Roubaix Lille Metropole) built a lead of three and a half minutes, with Mainard and Molly later pushing on alone.
They were hauled back with 49 kilometres to go, with Guillaume Martin and his Wanty – Groupe Gobert teammate Xandro Meurisse plus Martijn Budding (Roompot – Nederlandse Loterij) then playing their card. They were recaptured with six kilometres to go, after which Lotto-Soudal worked to deliver Hofland to the line and land the race win.
“When Martin, Meurisse and Budding went away on the penultimate lap, the team kept the situation under control and Sander Armée and Maxime Monfort closed the gap,” he said. “We had settled that if I was still part of the front group at the top of the last climb, I would do the sprint.”