Nils Eckhoff (Team DSM) won the prologue of the 34th ZLM Tour (Cat 2. Pro) on Wednesday evening. In the streets of Dutch Henkenzand, the birthplace of cycling legend Jan Raas, the 25-year-old Dutchman covered the distance of 6.6 kilometers in 7:27. He was over a second faster than Australian Alex Edmondson.
Eikhoff’s compatriot Olav Kuijs, the previous year’s overall winner, finished third by over a second. Noah Vandenbranden was tenth in Belgium’s best eleven. For Ekhoff it was the first win with the pros.
The first stage in the line arrives on Thursday between Westkappel and Herrenhoek. With a distance of 202.5 kilometres, it is the longest of the four stages in the ZLM Tour, which will finish in Oosterhout on Sunday.
“Delighted with first pro win”
“Of course I’m very satisfied with my first professional win, I’ve had to wait a long time for this”, replied Eckhoff. “I’ve been training really hard the past few weeks and I felt pretty strong before this prologue started. You still have to get it done, but I gave myself a chance to win.”
“At the start we had the wind behind us, but then we turned towards the finish line and the wind was right in front and it made it very difficult. However, I was able to maintain a good average.”
“We are here with a very strong team. With Sam Welfsford now on our way to victory in the bunch sprint.”