Cyclingnews will be introducing some of the fresh faces in the WorldTour peloton for 2013 in a series of articles over the next month. Australian Steele von Hoff has joined the Garmin-Sharp team after racing well in the Tour Down Under with the national team and bagging a handful of victories while racing with the team's development squad. He is riding his debut race with the team at the Santos Tour Down Under.
Cyclingnews: How did contract come about? Which races best showed your ability to ride at the WorldTour level
Steele von Hoff: I rode as a stagiaire with Garmin after Allan Peiper saw me racing in Australia. They liked me so I got the gig. Last year at Tour Down Under I was here and Allan was watching me quite closely after I placed sixth at the national titles. Allan was in the team car with my manager Andrew Christie-Johnston. It all evolved from there.
CN: What started you racing bikes?
SVH: There was a few things actually. Originally it was the recumbent bikes that got me on the bike as such for the first time in grade six. I did triathlons and then I had a bit of time off. Danny Brkic from Powerbar pulled out of a mountain bike race for a community team so I filled in for him, and then I ended up racing for a nutritional company on the mountain bike for four years which is what really got me racing. After that I jumped across to the road with Andrew [Christie-Johnston] and Genesys.
CN: Did you compete in any other sports before taking up cycling full time?
SVH: Triathlon, right through high school – so six years.
CN: Who was your sporting hero growing up?
SVH: I idolised a lot of the guys who I was racing against in my running squad. We had world champions and my best mates and I aspired to be like them.
CN: Which WorldTour race do you most want to compete in?
SVH:The Tour de France.
CN: What was your reaction to the USADA/US Postal case - does it make you concerned for what you might find at the WorldTour, or give you hope?
SVH: I think it’s cleaning up the sport and it’s a good thing because it’s getting rid of all the dirt.
CN: What are you changing about your program and/or season preparation to help you transition to the WorldTour?
SVH: I’m running it as I was really. I’m trying to peak for a few different races this time, which means later on in the season rather than to be going right now.
CN: Have you spoken to other riders who've made the leap and have provided advice or other mentors?
SVH: My coach Andrew Christie-Johnston is babying me all along the way and my teammates.
CN: Where will you be based - who will you be living with there? Prepared for culture shock?
SVH: I’ll be based in Girona and living by myself. That’s after being in the team house with 14 other riders last year so I’m quite keen for some alone time.
CN: Do you have a special talent aside from cycling that people might not know about?
SVH: I wouldn’t call it a talent, but I’ve got a few hobbies. I like remote control cars. I’m pretty good at driving them. That’s about it at the moment. If I’ve got a talent I suppose it’s my qualification as a boiler maker. I’m a pretty handy welder.
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As a sports journalist and producer since 1997, Jane has covered Olympic and Commonwealth Games, rugby league, motorsport, cricket, surfing, triathlon, rugby union, and golf for print, radio, television and online. However her enduring passion has been cycling.
Jane is a former Australian Editor of Cyclingnews from 2011 to 2013 and continues to freelance within the cycling industry.
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