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Hoffman hurtles to bronze in Mexico

By Mark Etheridge

Former track World Championships silver medallist Nolan Hoffman is boosted by his bronze-medal form as he heads into round two of the UCI World Cup series in Aguascalientes, Mexico this weekend.

Hoffman, also All Africa Games road champion and winner of numerous road titles, took part in a warm-up event last weekend, the Copa Internacional de Pista, also in Mexico.

There, the Team Abantu sprinter first ended ninth in the elite 30-kilometre points race before bursting ahead of the pack to take bronze in the 15km scratch event (see picture right).

Twenty-eight-year-old Hoffman told Road to Rio 2016 on Thursday that he hadn’t gone into the event in the best frame of mind. “At first I was a bit doubtful of a good result going into the event because I didn’t travel too well. I struggled with the time difference and the altitude (2400-metres above sea level) for the first three days. But By the time racing came, it looked like I had acclimatised well.”

He was always going to be up against it in the points race, racing solo. “Yes, it was a bit challenging as I had to race alone against four-man teams (Italy, Argentine, Spain, Mexico A, Mexico B and Belarus) but I managed a ninth place.”

Things got better as the competition wore on though. “The 15km Scratch the next day was much better and the legs were good on the day.

“It was really fast from the start with a lot of attacks from all different teams, two riders got away at halfway and gained a lap on the field. ┬áI won the bunch sprint for third place, and this shows the legs are good ahead off the World Cup. I’m really happy with the result and its a big confident booster going forward.”

The race was won by Argentina’s Facunco Lezica from local cyclist Alberto Covarrubias.

Hoffman will be joined by young 2012 Olympian Bernard Esterhuizen in Aguascalientes. Hoffman once again compete sin the Scratch and Points races while Esterhuizen is entered in the Sprint and 1km events.

Picture: Team Abantu