South African cycling hero Nolan Hoffman got the all new CSA KZN All Africa Challenge underway at Alexandra Park Track on Thursday morning at the 2012 SA National Track and Para Cycling Championships with a display of relentless domination in the elite men’s category.
Fresh off his recent 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, 30km points and elimination finals.
“It’s not a win as yet,” said a cautious Hoffmann. “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,” he added.
The Omnium, made up by riders’ results over six different 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.
“It’s great to see Nolan (Hoffmann) 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,” said Tasol GT team manager Dean Edwards.
“So it’s all about going out there to win but to try do it as smartly as possible and with as minimal effort as possible,” he added.
Despite having been pushed at times by fellow teammate Jean Spies, James Louter and Evan Carstens, Hoffmann looked in complete control for the majority of Thursday’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 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 teammate’s footsteps when he too claimed all the titles available on the opening day of the champs which gives him a comfortable lead with just three events to go in the race for the Omnium title.
Meanwhile in the elite ladies category Maroesjka Matthee and Tannah Robinson safely negotiated their way through the qualifiers and semi-finals stages of the sprint race and so will tackle the event’s final on Friday morning.
Friday also sees the second of the event’s three disciplines get underway 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 practise from 14:00 onwards.
There is much hype and excitement surrounding this year’s event as it operates under the new one-day champs system for the first time and will see 2008 Olympic competitor Sifiso ‘Skizo’ Nhlapo (MTN Cycling) in action along with the likes of the flying Kyle Dodd and the rest of the elite men’s field.