Winner’s rain dance

2013-10-14 00:00

NOLAN Hoffman is from Cape Town and he would have had to blink a few times when waking up in Pietermaritzburg yesterday morning to make sure he wasn’t home as rain and cold marked the start of the 106 km Amashova Classic outside the city hall.

But overcast conditions are preferred to the heat when tackling a long route. Hoffmann agrees and he says the cool weather helped him significantly on his way to victory in a time of 2:18,59 over second-placed Tyler Day.

“This is one of the tougher races on the local cycling calendar. It was hard out there,” Hoffmann told The Witness outside Moses Mabhida Stadium yesterday.

“The grey skies definitely helped, especially on the uphills. I did a little rain dance beforehand,” he said.

Aided by a small team of six, the Team Abantu leader has now won 15 national classics on the SA cycling circuit. Yesterday was his third major win on the East Coast — his 2011 Amashova title included.

“The fact that it is such a widely respected race, and one of the biggest of the year, makes the win fantastic,” he said.

Hoffmann, who said he wasn’t feeling too bad after the race, paid tribute to his team-mates.

“We have a small team and it is never easy to race against these guys when we are outnumbered,” he said. “You suffer a lot, but when you look at the commitment that your team-mates around you are giving, then it really is incredible and it lifts you.”

Hoffmann, one of the pre-race favourites after his 2011 triumph, said that crossing the finish line in first place brought a sense of relief.

“There is always pressure, more so when everybody is expecting you to be in the mix,” he said. “The key is obviously to stay calm, but it is almost impossible to stay calm before a race like this.”

Hoffmann will now be turning his attention to Holland, where he is preparing to take part in the Six Days of Amsterdam cycling challenge between October 21 and October 26.

Best Med ASG’s An-Li Kachelhoffer won the women’s race in a time of 2:56. It was the Johannesburger’s fifth attempt at winning the race, and her elation at the finish line suggested that it was well worth the wait.

“The race was good,” she beamed afterwards. “We rode a little differently this year, and I felt quite confident to move to the front of the pack and go for the win.”

Kachelhoffer also won at the gruelling 151 km Jock of the Bushveld Cycle Classique in Mpumulanga in July.

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