Victoria?s Steele von Hoff (NFTO) has ridden himself into the cycling history books, becoming the first man to ever win the elite criterium national title twice, since it?s inception to the MARS Cycling Australia Road National Championships in 2010.
[wpbanners id=”4″]?I?m amazed that I came through with that, I put so much pressure on myself today,? said von Hoff who?s feat comes off the back of a lean year with Cannondale-Garmin, which ended with him parting ways with the team and joining British Continental team NFTO. ?I really wanted the jersey again to take over to Europe with me because I can actually use it this time racing in Britain. So to take it with me over to NFTO and?to display the Aussie colours over there, it?s going to be amazing.? Von Hoff thrilled the large Ballarat crowd, staging a late and blistering charge to overcome sprint ace Caleb Ewan (Orica GreenEDGE) on the line to successfully defend his 2014 title. Olympic gold medalist Scott Sunderland (Budget Forklifts) sprinted to bronze. ?A lot of people would?ve thought Caleb was going to win, myself included. It is just a fantastic feeling,? said Von Hoff. ?I just took his wheel and as soon as he went I was right on him in his slip stream so all I had to do was sit there and try and come around him. ?When I came out next to [Caleb], I still didn?t know whether I could do it or not he?s an incredible rider. He?s such a fast guy – he?s going to be the next Mark Cavendish for sure.? Two-time Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic winner Ewan was full of praise for his rival. ?I could feel the peloton coming and that forced me to go. Looking back I think I went just a little bit too early,? said Ewan who led the sprint out from 300 metres to go. ?When you lead out, you?re just sprinting as hard as you can and hoping that no one will come past but I knew once I saw Steele (Von Hoff) coming, he was a quick finisher. ?For Leigh [Howard] being my only teammate, he did an absolute great job, not many people can do that. I didn?t lose because I didn?t have enough teammates today, I think I stuffed up a little bit by going a little early. But Steele (Von Hoff), to beat a guy like that, that?s so quick, you really need to nail a sprint perfectly.? Sunderland, who won gold in the men?s kilometre time trial at this year?s Glasgow Commonwealth Games, was pleased with his maiden national championship result. ?To come away with third in my first national championships on the road, it makes me very happy,? said Sunderland who was part of the 2012 team sprint world championship duo. ?I achieved what I wanted [on the track], so now I?m very excited about a new career on the road. And I think I?m on the right track, so I?m very happy.? Text via Cycling Australia Media Release