SA cycle ace on track to win

2012-04-26 00:00

PIETERMARITZBURG — South African cycling hero Nolan Hoffman got the all-new CSA KZN All Africa Challenge under way at Alexandra Park Track yesterday morning at the 2012 SA National Track and Para Cycling Championships with a display of relentless domination in the elite men’s category.

Fresh from winning a silver medal at the World Track Champs in Melbourne, Australia, Hoffmann — racing for the Tasol GT team — racked up the early advantage in battle for the elite men’s Omnium by claiming the win in all three of the opening day’s encounters, the flying lap, 30 km points and elimination finals.

A cautious Hoffman said: “It’s not a win as yet.

“ I’ve still got to get through three more events tomorrow, but it definitely is very comforting to get off to a really good start and get a couple of races under the belt.

“So far so good. It’s always a good thing to start a race in such a dominant manner and I really feel I’m in control of the ship now and am able to steer it where I need to.”

The Omnium, made up by riders’ results over six events over two days, is just one of a host of titles Hoffmann secured in 2011 and the Tasol GT competitor is focused on replicating last year’s feat as well as successfully defend his aQuellé Tour Durban title on Sunday.

“It’s a really big weekend for us at the team.

“We’ve set ourselves incredibly high standards so there’s still a long way to go, but I came away with six medals last year so I’m really hoping to be able to do the same again this year at the champs,” said Hoffmann.

Tasol GT team manager Dean Edwards said: “It’s great to see Nolan and the rest of the team get off to a great start today, but obviously we’re also trying to focus on our bigger picture of winning six titles and the Tour Durban title as well.

“So it’s all about going out there to win but to try do it as smartly as possible and with as minimal effort …”

Despite having been pushed at times by fellow team-mate Jean Spies, James Lauter and Evan Carstens, Hoffmann looked in complete control for most of yesterday’s affair, standing head and shoulders above the rest.

“It’s not as easy out there as some think though,” said Hoffmann.

“My competition certainly isn’t handing it to me on a silver platter.”

“I’ve just come off some incredible form after the worlds and my preparation period before that so I’m just feeling really good at the moment,” he added.

In the junior men’s section, Kellan Gouveris followed in his senior team-mate’s footsteps when he too claimed all the titles available on the opening day of the championships. That gives him a comfortable lead with just three events to go in the race for the Omnium title.

In the elite women’s category, Maroesjka Matthee and Tanner Robinson safely negotiated their way through the qualifiers and semi-finals stages of the sprint race and so will tackle the event’s final this morning.

Today also sees the second of the event’s three disciplines get under way as riders competing at this year’s SA National BMX Championships take on the recently built six-metre start hill and the rest of the reworked Alexandra Park’s BMX track during official practice from 2 pm onwards.

There is much hype and excitement surrounding this year’s event as it operates under the new one-day championships system for the first time and will see 2008 Olympic competitor Sifiso Nhlapo (MTN Cycling) in action along with the likes of the flying Kyle Dodd and the rest of the elite men’s field.

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