Steele Von Hoff Interview: Garmin-Sharp’s new signing gunning to show his speed
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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Steele Von Hoff Interview: Garmin-Sharp’s new signing gunning to show his speed

by Ed Hood at 5:53 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Interviews
 
Australian talent looks set for a big future

Steele Von HoffOne of the most eagerly awaited additions to the ranks of the World Tour fast men for 2013 is 24 year-old Australian, Steele Von Hoff.

A couple of wins in Australia in 2010 didn’t prepare the pundits for his 2011 season when he won 17 nationally ranked Australian races in the colours of Genesys Wealth Advisers.

But Jonathan Vaughters knows a good thing when he sees one, and for 2012 Van Hoff was with the Chipotle Development squad – Garmin’s ‘feeder’ team.

His season started well with sixth place in the Australian Elite Road race Championships behind Simon Gerrans, before he headed for Europe.

He took second to Roy Jans in the UCI 1.2 Kattekoers Gent-Leper to his announce his arrival before winning stages in the Tour du Loir-et-Cher and Olympia Tour.

Moving up to the ‘big’ team as stagiaire for the end of the season, he impressed with two top four placings in stages of the Tour of Britain; a third place on a stage in the Tour of Denmark and a top twenty in Paris-Tours.

With just weeks to go before his season kicks off in the Tour Down Under, Van Hoff took time to talk to VeloNation about his year and targets for 2013.

VeloNation: How did you get into cycling, Steele?

Steele Von Hoff: It started out when I used to ride recumbent bikes in primary school; I started training at lunch times to get ready for a 24 hour race.

And that stemmed in to triathlons where I got my first road bike.

VN: You were a prolific winner in Aus in 2011 - what was your final score?

SVH: I won 17 national series races in the end and a few local crits, and also the Japan Cup crit too.

VN: How did the ride with Chipotle come about?

SVH: I had interest from the Garmin pro team, but since I was so new to road cycling, they thought it was best to give me another year in the development team to work on my base.

It worked out quite well, getting used to how everything worked, as it was my first year in Europe.

VN: Gent-leper (1.2) you were second, early March - that must have been encouraging?

SVH: Yes, that was my first road race in Europe.

That got my hopes high, but I later on found out I must have just gotten lucky in that race; it wasn't that easy again!

VN: Stage five in the Tour du Loir et Cher, your first Euro win, was that a 'relief?’

SVH: Yes for sure!

It was the first time I had been on the podium since Gent-Leper, so it was a while in between; a few frustrating times to say the least.

VN: Stage six in the Olympia Tour - that's a fast race which can get a tad 'hairy' . . .

SVH: Yes it was, but that was the race that everything finally clicked on the last day.

We had what would have to have been the best lead out of the year, with five out of the seven guys in the team making it up the front to help.

VN: Guadeloupe, two stage wins and you beat Richeze, he's pretty quick.

SVH: Guadeloupe was only a warm up for my time as a stagiaire. I wasn't really taking anything seriously besides GC for Lachie (Lachlan Morton) the finish was just a bonus when things worked out well.

VN: You were stagiaire with Garmin - were you a bit 'jumpy' going into it?

SVH: Nope, I knew exactly what was coming, had been waiting for six months to race those guys again!

VN: Tour of Britain, stage two, second to Cav - how quick is he?

SVH: He’s quick enough to be world champion! But it was a fantastic opportunity to test myself against him.

VN: The Tour of Denmark, stage three, third to 'le Gorille;' how quick is he - as quick as Cav?

SVH: They are two of the fastest guys in the world, it would just be up to who is feeling better on the day and gets the better positioning going in to the sprint.

VN: World Ports, sixth on stage one and GC - that must have been a satisfying result?

SVH: Yes, that was one of the most exciting races of the year for me, averaging 51kph for 200k.

VN: Piemonte - how did you get on with all those hills?

SVH: I was purely a worker in that one, I had to try and pull the guys in to position at the bottom of the hill, and just be a team player - I was on bottle duty that day!

VN: How are you coping with the increased Euro race distances?

SVH: I'm going quite well I think, I don't mind the longer races, it gets tough towards the end, but the more you do, the stronger you get.

VN: You were nineteenth at Paris-Tours; that must be one you have your eye on for the future?

SVH: Yes that’s a great race, but that day I just didn't climb well enough, and when it split into groups about ten kilometres from the finish I wasn't where I had to be.

VN: It's been a long season - from the Nationals in January to Tours in October, how has your system coped?

SVH: I had a longer than expected break in the middle of the year which did help me, but it wasn't what I had planned.

My one week break ended up being five weeks off with the flu and a bad bout of food poisoning, only getting back on the bike a few days before Guadeloupe!

VN: You must be looking forward to spending the Euro winter in Australia?

SVH: I sure am; it’s been lovely weather at home, great beach days, and hot rides - I cope better in the heat than the snow!

VN: How have you dealt with the Euro weather?

SVH: It’s something I do need to work on… I had to pull out of a race this year, because I couldn't change in to my small ring up a hill. My whole hand was so numb I couldn't even mash it in my lever to change it.

VN: Where are you based in Europe, and what's it like?

SVH: I was based in Toulouse last year; it was a great place with a lot of friends that we made.

But next year I will make the move to Girona where there will be more support from Garmin.

VN: I believe the Tour Down Under is your first race - what lessons do you take in from riding it in 2012?

SVH: It’s prepared me for what’s going to happen; I know the roads now, and what to expect each day.

With my Europe season behind me I think I can do a lot more in the way of assisting our team leader in Down Under.

VN: What's your programme like from there on?

SVH: As a neo pro it changes a whole heap, so you can never be sure, but at this date, I will be going over to Langkawi on the way over to Europe.

I’ll get most of the Australian summer - which will be nice.

VN: ‘Lance Gate’ - your take?

SVH: I think it’s time to all move forwards and look at cycling as the sport it is today, not what it was.

It’s a great sport, and it will bounce back with a lot brighter future where people aren't been put in the situation they once were.

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