Team LottoNL-Jumbo rider Moreno Hofland concluded the Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista del Sol on Sunday with a seventh place thanks to a “team effort.”
“The team effort in the final was perfect,” Hofland said. “I was well positioned thanks to Tom Leezer, Maarten Tjallingii and Jos van Emden.”
Movistar’s Juan José Lobato won the stage, a 171-kilometre ride from Montilla to Alhaurin de la Torre.
“I led the pack at one moment, but decided to let some riders by. Looking back, I gave away too much space. That was a stupid mistake.”
The uphill finish did not scare Hofland. “We knew that the arrival would be quite hard, but we just wanted to give our best and see what would happen. It wasn’t bad what I did, but I’m a little bit behind on men like Lobato at the moment. Maybe my crash is still hindering me a bit.
“I noticed I got better over the past few days, though. I finished this race at a good level. Last year, I won a stage here, so in that respect, it wasn’t a good race, but I have to say that the course was harder this year. Anyhow, I’m confident for Kuurne and Paris-Nice.”
Sports Director Merijn Zeeman was impressed by the work of Leezer, Tjallingii and Van Emden in the final stage. “They did it just the way we like to do it. I’m very happy that they managed to pull that off. If we continue like this, we will automatically start to win.”
Looking back over the week, Zeeman was very satisfied with Wilco Kelderman’s fitness. “Wilco has proven that he’s ready for the big events.”
Zeeman leaves for Holland with mixed feelings. “We hoped to be more involved in the sprint stages, but the crash on the first day didn’t help us. It made it hard to do well in the overall, as well.
“However, the men, have really progressed during this tough week and so I’m very confident going into the opening weekend.”