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Hoffman takes fifth spot at World Championships

Silver medallist at the 2012 World Track Championships, our Nolan Hoffman has finished in a credible fifth place in the 15-kilometre Scratch Race at the UCI Track World Championships in Cali, Colombia.

The 15km race was won in a time of 16 minutes 37 seconds by Russia’s Ivan Kovalev with an average speed of 54.1km/h. Defending world champion, Martyn Irvine of Ireland, was second with Hong Kong’s King Lok Cheung rounding out the podium.

Hoffman won the bunch sprint with his signature explosive sprint coming just short of catching the Ukrainian rider Roman Lutsyshyn who had attacked earlier and finished up in fourth place.

Importantly, Hoffman was the second Commonwealth rider which bodes well for Team South Africa’s medal chances at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland later this year.

The 15km Scratch race saw 20 of the world’s top track riders vying for the rainbow stripes. Early attacks from Ukraine, Italy and Colombia were all marked as the race approached half way.

Cheung saw an opportunity just past the halfway mark and took his chances with a solid attack. He was soon joined by Kovalev as the field started to play a tactical game, allowing the two to lap the field.

The high speed caused the field to splinter and a select group of five riders went clear and quickly gained half a lap. The group contained Dylan Kennet (New Zealand), Jordan Parra (Colombia), Elia Viviani (Italy) Jonathan Dibben (Great Britian) and Irvine. Irvine then attacked the group and went in pursuit of lapping the field solo, while Hoffman put in a big attack from the Peloton and bridged the gap to the now four-man group a few metres off Irvine.

The Irishman managed to latch onto the back of the peloton as the four-man group began to lose firepower and were eventually caught with 10 laps remaining. The Ukranian put in one last effort to lap the field and gained half a lap. Hoffman using his signature sprint finish managed to win the bunch sprint ending up fifth place.

Team Abantu rider Hoffman was content with the result but disappointed in just missing out on a medal: ÔÇ£The Scratch is a lottery. You have only one opportunity to make it count and I had a go and managed to ride across to a really dangerous move. By the time I got to the leading five, Irvine had┬áslipped off the front and the rest of the guys started missing turns and then we were caught with 10 laps to go.

“We were so close at a stage, but that’s how the Scratch goes. Sometimes it goes your way other times not. I’m happy to have won the bunch sprint and finish in the top five in the world, which was the goal set by Dean [Edwards, team manager] but I really wanted to get back on the podium. Tomorrow we will see how the Points race goes. This has given me a lot of confidence and I know I have some good form.ÔÇØ

The national team’s manager, Dean Edwards, was satisfied with the performance of Nolan describing it as a world class performance: ÔÇ£I’m happy that Nolan is back in the top echelon of the world rankings. Our primary goal was to be top five in the world again. He was the second Commonwealth rider, which is a major focus for us.

“He raced with confidence and showed his speed and power by riding across to a dangerous move, which contained the big┬ánames. Unfortunately it didn’t stick and that’s the nature of the Scratch, it’s a 50/50 call and once you make it you have to commit. All in all, I’m satisfied with the result.ÔÇØ

1 Ivan KOVALEV (RUS) ÔÇô Gold
2 Martyn IRVINE┬á(IRL) ÔÇô Silver
3 King┬áLok CHEUNG┬á(HKG) ÔÇô Bronze
6 Maximilian BEYER (GER)
8 Glenn O’SHEA┬á(AUS)
10 Frank PASCHE (SUI)