Tour Down Under call-up makes Von Hoff rethink early season goals

Australian sprinter to forgo peaking at Nationals for better peformance in Adelaide

As if Steele Von Hoff's year couldn't have gotten any better after a dominating 2011 season that culminated in a contract with the Chipotle Development Team, the young Australian sprinter learnt just before Christmas that he would be riding in the UniSA team at 14th Santos Tour Down Under.

For the 23-year-old, the call-up, which gives him much a much needed taste of top tier racing, has meant a reshuffle in his early 2012 goals which had previously been a top performance in the elite men's criterium championships in Ballarat on January 5.

Von Hoff explained to Cyclingnews that after consulting with his coach, Andrew Christie-Johnson, the two decided that putting his training back a week would still give him a chance to perform well at Nationals, but would open the way to being in top condition for the Tour Down Under.

"I'll be taking it a little easier going into Nationals," said Von Hoff. "The big goal has to be the Tour Down Under - it's my first WorldTour race and I really want to perform well."

"Of course I'm still taking Nationals very seriously. But the plan has definitely changed. Nationals would normally be one of the biggest races on my calendar but that's obviously been superseded now."

Though he played down his chances for a possible stage win, Von Hoff did say that the big goal would be to try get on the podium at least once.

"If I can get up there and maybe podium, I'd be absolutely delighted," said Von Hoff.

Ahead of his much anticpated WorldTour debut, the Australian will line-up at the Jayco Bay Cycling Classic where he will be competing with the BikeBug team alongside some familiar faces, Anthony Giacoppo, Nathan Haas, and potential future Garmin teammate Heinrich Haussler.

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