Hoffman ‘a bit nervous’

2014-10-09 00:00

TEAM Abantu cyclist Nolan Hoffman is champing at the bit to take on the Amashova this weekend and hopefully defend his title.

Hoffman won the race last year and regards the Amashova as one of the best classics in the country.

“I’m really looking forward to it, the Amashova is one of the big national classics to win and it looks great on your CV,” he told The Witness.

This year will be more difficult according to Hoffman, as his team have struggled with illness recently.

“We are going into the race excited, but our team is slightly under strength. Team MTN Qhubeka are probably our main opposition. They are a team of strong climbers and they like to race aggressively so we will have to work hard,” he said.

For that reason Hoffman and his team-mates have come down to KwaZulu-Natal early to prepare for the race.

“We took a ride over specific areas that we are focusing on to do a bit of recon. We want to see where we will go hard at specific parts of the race.”

Hoffman singled out Inchanga and Botha’s Hill as particularly difficult stages of the race and make-or-break points.

“That will be our key focus, they are 3 km hills back to back and if someone works hard there they can easily run away with the race” Hoffman said.

Another big draw card for this year’s Amashova is the fact that it is part of the UCI World Cycling Tour, which allows riders to qualify for the Amateur Road World Championships.

“For that reason it makes it very important to go out and win the race. It is very prestigious for a rider to win a race that can get you in to the World Championships.”

As defending champion, Hoffman admits there is added pressure and his team’s current condition is also a slight worry.

“I am a bit nervous as we are maybe not as strong as last year — you’re only as strong as your team and they carried me to the victory last year.”

Despite the pressure of the race, Hoffman believes the Shova has something to offer every rider from beginners to professionals. “Personally, I love riding in Durbs and the race will provide a challenge for the everyday rider. I have even seen that some guys will be doing the race on normal mountain bikes, it really is a race that caters for everybody,” he said.

The race is also significant for Hoffman, as he could potential bag an impressive triple victory.

“I won the Argus earlier this year and I am doing the 94.7 in four week’s time. So if I can win the Shova this weekend, there is a chance I could go for the triple — it’s a tall ask but I’m excited for the challenge.”

The Amashova gets under way on Sunday morning in Pie–termaritzburg and finishes at Suncoast Casino.

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