Hoogerland Cycling Champ

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Johnny Hoogerland became on Sunday in Kerkrade (Limburg) the Dutch cycling champion. The Vacansoleil rider from Zeeland arrived after more than 228 kilometers alone at the finish. He may now wear the red-white-blue champion's jersey in the Tour de France.

Tom Dumoulin (Argos-Shimano) finished second, just before Sebastian Langeveld of Orica-Green Edge.

Liewe Westra, teammate of Hoogerland, was leading the race for a long time alone. After the Frisian was caught by the work of the Blanco team, followed attacks one after the other. Eventually three riders managed to keep out of the grip of the pack: Hoogerland, Langeveld and Bram Tankink, the only Blanco rider who could keep up at the front. His Blanco teammates Robert Gesink and Bauke Mollema already abandoned the race at that time.

Defending champion Niki Terpstra failed to close the gap with the leaders. Tom Dumoulin, however, was successful in charging the leaders. The rider from Limburg passed Tankink and shortly before the finish also Langeveld. Hoogerland remained out of reach.

Hoogerland was emotional after he finished. As an amateur he was a winner. He won 18 to 20 races a year and was known as a ‘killer’. After he became a pro, he did a lot of futile attacks. In addition, he had a lot of bad luck. Who doesn’t remember the ‘flight’ into the barbwire during the 2011 Tour de France. In February of this year, he ended up in a Spanish hospital after a training accident.

But Sunday, only his 23rd racing day of this year,  Hoogerland recorded his finest victory. "I do not fully realize it yet," said the 30-year Zeelander when the tears had dried. "I have not won much but always tried to make the race."

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