The Dutchman Olav Kooij (Jumbo-Visma) won the opening stage of the Tour of Hungary on Wednesday, a five-day stage race at UCI level 2.1. He was the fastest in a peloton sprint and thus also conquers the first leader’s jersey. After a long breakaway, Belgian Jens Reynders is second in the standings.
Michiel VerheirstraetenSource† BELGA
After Budapest hosted the ‘Grande Partenza’ of the Tour of Italy, some of the WorldTour team’s staff continued to plaster in Hungary for the 43rd edition of the Eastern European country’s national stage race. The result was a particularly strong field of participants for a 2.1 race, with the Dutch sprinters Fabio Jakobsen and Dylan Groenewegen as crowd pullers.
In the 195-kilometre opening stage between Csakvar and Szekesfehervar, the peloton faced quite a few slopes. That did not deter Aaron Van Poucke and Jens Reynders of Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise: they formed the long breakaway together with American Joey Rosskopf and home riders Marton Dina and Viktor Filutas. Six kilometers before the finish, Reynders, Van Poucke, Rosskopf and Dina still had a lead of more than half a minute that they had divided their efforts well.
At the start of the final kilometer the escape of the escapees was over and the final preparation of the sprint could begin. In the end, Jakobsen and Groenewegen were not to be seen at the front of the pack, but their young compatriot Olav Kooij, who finished it off before the Italian Elia Viviani and the British Matthew Walls. Sasha Weemaes, a teammate of Van Poucke and Reynders, was the best Belgian in eighth place.
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It is already the fourth victory of the season for Kooij, who is barely 20 years old, after two stages and the final score in the French Omloop van de Sarthe. In the standings he is two seconds ahead of Reynders, his first pursuer. Viviani is third at 0:04.