CEDAR CITY — Dutch sprinter Moreno Hofland made returning from injury look like a breeze after taking the 113.5-mile Stage 1 of the Tour of Utah on Monday in a time of 4:51:02.
Hofland became familiar with life in America after spending an extra week in California due to a crash in the final stage of the Tour of California in May.
He was hospitalized with fractured ribs and vertebrae.
"It was my first race since I had a bad crash in the Tour of California", Hofland said in a press release. "So I didn't know what to expect. But I felt very good and I am happy to get the win. It is my first time in a race leader's jersey, so I am very happy."
Team SmartStop’s Jure Kocjan was four seconds back, followed by Italy’s Andrea Palini, who was six seconds behind. Two Americans were next, Eric Young and Kiel Reijnen.
Last year’s champ, American Tom Danielson of Garmin-Sharp, was 21st in the general classification. The man he beat in 2013, Christopher Horner, was 19th.
BMC Racing leads all teams with a time of 14:33:36, followed by Lampre-Merida, Team Garmin-Sharp and Team SmartStop at five seconds back and then Belkin at 10 seconds behind.
Germany’s Rick Zabel was the best young rider after finishing in 4:51:12.
Stage 2 is Tuesday, 130.7 miles from Panguitch to Torrey. It will be televised at 2 p.m. on Root Sports. The tour, which ends Sunday, heads north on Wednesday from Lehi to Miller Motorsports Park.