By Mark Etheridge
Team South Africa’s campaign at the World Track Cycling championships in Minsk, Belarus got off to a flat start on Thursday with Nolan Hoffman failing to medal in the scratch final.
Hoffman had won silver in the same event at last year’s world championships in Melbourne, Australia.
The Franschhoek-born rider, who also won the road event at the All Africa Games two years ago, ended a disappointing 20th in the event.
Said team manager George Cornelissen: “He went into the race with some uncertainty as to which wheel to follow and decided to position himself on the wheel of a Swiss rider.”
That turned out to be a bad decision. “With 10 laps to he found himself in a group or riders to half a lap down on the leaders and decided to close the gap by himself.”
He did manage to do that but when he did make contact there was another attack from the front with Ireland, Austria and Australia on the head.
Cornelissen told Road to Rio 2016: “His legs just couldn’t turn fast enough and he was just hanging in there. He told me afterward that it was one of his worst rides ever and he was very disappointed in himself.”
Now the focus will be on young Bernard Esterhuizen, a former junior time trial champion, in Saturday’s sprint qualifying rounds.