Monday March 10th, 2014

Stage 2Rambouillet / Saint-Georges-sur-Baulche

Start 11h00 (Local time)

Hofland surprises even himself

Stage summary10.03.2014Stage 2- Rambouillet / Saint-Georges-sur-Baulche

© A.S.O.

The stage was set for a remake of Sunday's final showdown between Nacer Bouhanni and John Degenkolb at the finish of the long second stage in St Georges-sur-Baulche, but victory went to a third man, Moreno Hofland, who stole the show for his greatest victory to date.

The former under-23 Dutch champion cleverly took Degenkolb's wheel in the last 300 metres to surge and seal victory, leaving the German in the runner-up spot for the second day in succession. A liltle hampered by an ailing knee, Bouhanni still managed third place and retained his yellow jersey with a two seconds lead over the German.

Two-man breakaway

The start was given at 11:00 to an undetermined number or riders, 27 of them having been warned after failing to sign the start list. After 2.5 km, two riders broke clear – Anthony Delaplace (BSE) and Aleksejs Saramotins (IAM). Their lead grew steadily to reach a maximum of 11:40 at kilometre 33. In the first sprint of the day in Malesherbes (km 61.5), won by Delaplace ahead of Saramotins, Gianni Meersman (OPQ) collected one second to go level with Nacer Bouhanni on time in the GC.

Laborie strengthens polka-dot

The two escapees maintained a wide enough lead over the bunch to reach the only climb of the day, Cote de la Ferte-Loupiere (3rd cat) in the front, Saramotins crossing the top ahead of Delaplace.  Polka-dot jersey holder Christophe Laborie added a point to his tally, 4:55 behind the pair, and strengthened his lead in the climbers classification.   

Meersman crashes

As the pace increased in the last 30 kilometres, Andy Schleck (FTR), already dropped in the first stage, was again seen struggling at the back. On the first crossing of the line, while Saramotins beat Delaplace, Meersman collected one more second to move ahead of Bouhanni in the overall standings. But the Belgian was involved in a crash with 12 kms to go, with Edvald Boasson-Hagen (SKY), Lars Boom (BEL) and Tyler Farrar (GRS) and failed to make it back on time for the final sprint.

Hofland surges

With 12 kms to go, Saramotins parted company with Delaplace and went on his own. But he was reeled in with four kilometres to go after an impressive chasing work by Orica Greenedge riders. in the finale, Giant Shimano again worked perfectly to lead-out Degenkolb. But the German, beaten the day before by Bouhanni, had to be content with finishing second again, beaten this time by the unexpected Hofland.

Dutch tradition

At 22, the Dutchman had displayed the extent of his talent by finishing second in Kuurne-Brussels-Kurne this season behind Tom Boonen. He has now done even better and maintained Dutch tradition in the Burgundy stages of the Race to the Sun as the last three stages held in neighbouring Auxerre were also won by Dutch riders. Hofland's own father, Peter, finished 5th in a Paris-Nice stage in 1984, riding as an amateur for the Dutch national team. He named his son after former Italian great Moreno Argentin.

The news in pictures


© A.S.O.


Stage 2 Rambouillet / Saint-Georges-sur-Baulche

All about the stage key moments

Jersey wearers after the stage 8

Classifications after the stage 8


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