South African Nolan Hoffman got the all-new CSA KZN All Africa Challenge underway at Alexandra Park Track in Pietermaritzburg on Thursday 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 took 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 Hoffmann.
“I’ve still got to get through three more events, 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, consisting of riders’ results over six different events over two days, is just one of a host of titles Hoffmann secured in 2011, and he is focused on replicating last year’s feat as well as successfully defending his aQuellé Tour Durban title on Sunday.
“It’s a really big weekend for us as 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,” he said.
Despite having been pushed at times by fellow team mates Jean Spies, James Lauter 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.”
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 champs, which gives him a comfortable lead with just three events to go in the race for the junior Omnium title.
Meanwhile, in the elite ladies category, Maroesjka Matthee and Tanner Robinson safely negotiated their way through the qualifiers and semi-finals stages of the sprint race.
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. It will see 2008 Olympic competitor Sifiso Nhlapo in action along with the likes of the flying Kyle Dodd and the rest of the elite men’s field. – Sapa