19 February 2014
Cycling South Africa has selected Bernard Esterhuizen and Nolan Hoffman to represent the country at the 2014 UCI Track Cycling World Championships in Cali, Colombia, which takes place from 26 February to 2 March.
Both the Opex (Operation Excellence) athletes have qualified for more than one event at the World Championships and, with the Commonwealth Games approaching, both men will have to deliver top-five performances to automatically qualify for the Games.
London 2012 Olympian Esterhuizen will compete in the 1km time trial (TT). He is a former Junior World Champion, and last year claimed to first places at the US Grand Prix of Sprinting.
Hoffman won a silver medal at the World Championships in 2012 in the 15km Scratch. He will again compete in that event, as well as the 30km Points Race, having qualified for both by competing in the three 2013/2014 UCI Track World Cup rounds from early November 2013.
Team manager Dean Edwards says the objective for the riders is to race to win, adding that there is a high level of expectation from them.
‘Challenging for a medal’
“Having spent three years as an Elite rider, we should start to see Bernard challenging for a medal in the 1km TT in the Elite ranks,” Edwards said.
“It is a big step from Junior to Elite, but he has matured and has been based in the US, which helps a lot as he receives world-class coaching on international standard facilities.
“I am expecting him to go top five in order to ensure he qualifies for the Commonwealth Games. The 1km TT will be Bernie’s main focus with the Sprint a secondary focus.”
‘An achievement on its own’
Edwards, who also serves as Hoffman’s Team Prinicpal with Team Abantu, said in a recent press release: “With just 24 riders from around the world qualifying and eligible to start in the UCI World Championships, Hoffman’s inclusion is an achievement on its own. It was an important objective to get him into both the events and he gave of his best to qualify.
“It hasn’t been easy for him spending months travelling the world with minimal or sometimes no support staff, but he has put in the hard work and the results speak for themselves.”