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Track duo Down Under

Our two track aces are ready to roll in the UCI World Track Championships that started in Melbourne, Australia on Wednesday, writes Mark Etheridge.

Swiss-based Bernard Esterhuizen and Nolan Hoffman are South Africa’s representatives at the five-day event and close to 350 track rockets from 40 countries will be in action.

This is the final qualifying event in the lead-up to the Olympics in London later this year and competition is going to be tough in the 10 Olympic events at the Hisense Arena.

At last year’s champs, the Australian side, known as the Cyclones, took six of the gold medals in the Olympic events. This is the second time that Melbourne has hosted track world championships, having done so in 2004.

Esterhuizen seems to have hit form at just the right time, despite having stitches in his foot, just below the Achilles tendon and having to take a two-week break.

But a 12.74second blitz for the flying 250-metres had him remarking “the legs are cleared for take-off!”.

“I also did another PB [personal best] in the flying 500m with race wheels and the effort was smooth and powerful.”
Esterhuizen is a bright young talent, already having tasted success two years ago when he won the kilometre time trial at world junior championships in Italy.

“Nolan has also arrived here and looks ready to compete,” Esterhuizen told Road to London 2012 on Wednesday. “As for me, my legs are getting quicker every day and things are looking good for min tomorrow’s kilo.

“My morale is good and I’m looking forward to giving my all tomorrow. The flying 200m qualifier is on Friday and I’m looking forward to that too.”

The 19-year-old will be doing the kilo, sprint and keirin events at the championships and is hoping to seal a spot on Team South Africa for the Olympics. Hoffman doesn’t have enough qualifying points to be in contention for the Games.