Woah! What a summer of cycling it has been. Now that the early Australian racing has come to a wrap it's nice to look back on it and feel that it will have set me up for a good rest of the season.
The Australian national road race championships turned out in my favour as I finished on the podium in third-place behind a gallant ride from Luke 'Turbo' Durbridge and Michael 'Bling' Matthews. I was really happy with my performance on the day and it's pretty exciting to see such a young podium at the Australian nationals. I can't wait to see what we can all do over the next few years.
Of course I couldn't have done it without my three Garmin Sharp teammates that helped me throughout the day and especially in the last few laps around Buninyong when they sat on the front driving a hard pace to try and pull back Durbo.
From nationals most of the pros headed off to Adelaide for Tour Down Under. We spent the week in Adelaide before the race started doing recon for the stages, recovering nationals and getting back into the swing of being back on tour... in a slightly more relaxed atmosphere.
This year was my second time at TDU after I raced it last year with UniSA but this year was a little bit different than the year before. This year I was there to help my team rather than sprint for myself - to get my own results. I came into it with great form, helping everyday and working hard to make sure Jack Bauer was up the front at the bottom of the climbs, and backing that up by helping Tyler Farrar to make sure he was in good position for the sprints.
Unfortunately our team got struck with a bit of bad luck during the week with Rohan Dennis not starting due to illness and Nathan Haas having to pull out halfway through the week after he was also struck down with sickness.
We still had a solid week, but we definitely felt it being two guys short on the road. Using Tyler and myself to work for Jack definitely impacted our power for sprints at the end of the stages but in saying that Greipel and Lotto Belisol had their sprint train dialled and they came out hitting from the opening race - the People's Choice Classic.
After TDU everyone has a couple of drinks on the Sunday night and a bit of a dance, which is nice before we all get serious about the year ahead. I had a week back in Melbourne and caught up with friends and my girlfriend. It was pretty quiet as I had a recovery week after being away for three weeks.
The last few weeks have just been hard training for Tour de Langkawi. I'm heading over as the main sprinter so the pressure is on. I've raced in Malaysia before so I have a bit of an idea what the terrain is going to be like, but there are four other ProTeams racing, so I'm expecting hard, fast and hot days. It should be fun!
Anyway wish me luck, just hoping to keep my skin before my brother's wedding the week after Langkawi!
Catch you soon,
Steele Von Hoff is a first-year professional riding for the Garmin-Sharp ProTeam. Von Hoff spent the 2012 season with Jonathan Vaughters Chipotle Development squad before graduating to the WorldTour ranks as a stagiare late last year. The Australian sprinter has shown he's capable of rivalling some of the best in the bunch sprints and will be working closely with the team's top sprinter Tyler Farrar throughout his neo-pro season while also looking to capitalise on his own opportunities.
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