Moreno Hofland Wins Paris-Nice Stage 2, Bouhanni Lead

Hofland_ParisNice_Stage2_Finish

SAINT-GEORGES-SUR-BAULCHE, France, March 10, 2014 (AFP) – Dutch rider

Moreno Hofland won a sprint finish for the 205km second stage of the
Paris-Nice cycling race to Saint-Georges-sur-Baulche in Burgundy on Monday.

The 22-year-old crossed ahead of Germany’s John Degenkolb, already second
on Sunday, and France’s Nacer Bouhanni, winner of the first stage.

Bouhanni leads the overall standings with a two-second advantage on
Degenkolb and Hofland now 4sec off the leader.

“Last week it was special to be in front with the favorites at
Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne,” said the winner, who finished second to one-day
classic specialist Tom Boonen in the Belgian race.

“Today it’s even better to beat them. I was badly placed with 1.2km left,
in about 30th position.

“I thought it was over but then with a teammate, I threaded my way through
and got back up, I still don’t know how.

“I found myself on Degenkolb’s wheel and I made my move 300m out.”

Bouhanni said he was still feeling the effects of the crash he suffered on
Sunday’s opening stage, when he crossed the finish line with his knee covered
in blood.

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“I struggled especially in the first 100km when my knee was still cold but
after that I got better and better,” said the 23-year-old overall leader, the
French champion in 2012.

“In any case, it didn’t affect me in the sprint. I was just lacking a bit
of strength in the final 200m against Degenkolb.”

The Frenchman might have lost the overall lead but for a disastrous final
11km for Belgian Gianni Meersman.

The Omega-Pharma Quick Step rider had picked up enough bonus seconds in
intermediate sprints along the stage to make him the virtual leader but a
crash 11km from home cost him dearly.

He made it back to the peloton for the final sprint but was deemed to have
done so only thanks to getting an illegal tow from his team car, and
organizers hit him with a 1min 10sec penalty that dropped him outside the top
100.

In sunny conditions, French rider Anthony Delaplace and Latvia’s Aleksejs
Saramotins led a long breakaway of over 200km after taking the lead just 2.5km
after the race got underway at Rambouillet, outside Paris.

Delaplace pulled ahead with 12km to go but Saramotins resisted until the
final 3km.

The pair had built up a lead of nearly 11 minutes on the peloton controled
by Bouhanni’s FDJ team and then Omega Pharma, whose chase proved ultimately
futile.

Tuesday’s 180km third stage will run between Toucy and the Magny-Cours
circuit.

Results from the
second stage of the Paris-Nice cycling race on Monday between Rambouillet and
Saint-Georges-sur-Baulche:

1. Moreno Hofland (NED/BKN) 4hr 53min 46sec (average: 41,9 km/h), 2. John
Degenkolb (GER/GIA) same time, 3. Nacer Bouhanni (FRA/FDJ) s.t., 4. Alexander
Kristoff (NOR/KAT) s.t., 5. Thor Hushovd (NOR/BMC) s.t., 6. Bryan Coquard
(FRA/EUC) s.t., 7. Armindo Fonseca (FRA/BSE) s.t., 8. Tony Gallopin (FRA/LTB)
s.t., 9. Jens Keukeleire (BEL/ORI) s.t., 10. Jose Joaquin Rojas (ESP/MOV) s.t.
Selected: 20. Sylvain Chavanel (FRA/IAM) 0:07, 24. Tom Boonen (BEL/OPQ)
0:07, 53. Rui Costa (POR/LAM) 0:07, 90. Frank Schleck (LUX/TRE) 0:18, 129.
Thomas Voeckler (FRA/EUC) 1:10, 151. Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR/SKY) 5:28, 152.
Andy Schleck (LUX/RSH) 6:46

Overall standings
1. Nacer Bouhanni (FRA/FDJ) 8h46:43, 2. John Degenkolb (GER/GIA) at 0:02.
3. Moreno Hofland (NED/BKN) 0:04, 4. Geraint Thomas (GBR/SKY) 0:13, 5. Bryan
Coquard (FRA/EUC) 0:14, 6. Jose Joaquin Rojas (ESP/MOV) 0:14, 7. Alexander
Kristoff (NOR/KAT) 0:14, 8. Nikolay Trusov (RUS/TIN) 0:14, 9. Samuel Dumoulin
(FRA/ALM) 0:14, 10. Jens Keukeleire (BEL/ORI) 0:14.
Selected: 17. Sylvain Chavanel (FRA/IAM) 0:20,19. Tom Boonen (BEL/OPQ)
0:21, 36. Rui Costa (POR/LAM) 0:21, 113. Frank Schleck (LUX/TRE) 1:41, 162.
Andy Schleck (LU