Nuyens came out of the wilderness on Wednesday, winning Dwars door Vlaanderen in a thrilling sprint ahead of Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) and Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Cervelo). It was Nuyens's first significant win since Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne in 2006. The 30-year-old Belgian will race E3 Prijs Vlaanderen tomorrow and Hoffman feels that the race comes at the perfect time for him.
"Yesterday he took things really easy and today we did two hours with a few short intervals. He'll be fine for tomorrow. He's doing both E3 and Gent-Wevelgem the next day but we'll put everything into tomorrow's race and we'll see for Sunday but tomorrow could be his day again," Hoffman told Cyclingnews.
"This will be his third start but he showed in Dwars that he's good on the climbs so I'll be crossing my fingers for him again."
Nuyens turned professional in 2002 with Domo - which later became Quick Step - and was widely regarded as one of the most talented Classics riders. He moved from Quick Step to Cofidis in 2007 and then to Rabobank in 2009 but both transfers proved unfruitful.
Heading into 2011 he was an outsider for the Classics but his display in Dwars door Vlaanderen, and that of his Saxo Bank teammates, suggests he could be close rival to perennial favourites Tom Boonen (Quick Step) and Fabian Cancellara (Leopard Trek).
Saxo Bank lost the spine of their team at the tail-end of 2010 with the formation of Leopard Trek, but according to Hoffman the signing of Nuyens sparked a number of riders to prove that the team still contained enough talent to contest one day Monuments.
"Many riders left, some strong guys and some big stars, but we had some guys who are good and we've worked really hard together. Maybe it's a surprise for other people but we knew that we were heading in the right direction. Winning and the way Nick did it was special, for him and for everyone else on the team," he told Cyclingnews.
"Nick was a little bit lost but he'd shown in the past that he has the qualities and this winter we started working with him and he's found his rhythm again. Maybe it was there before but it didn't come out. I don't know all the reasons, I don't think all the other teams are bad or anything but it's great that he's found his way with our team."
Saxo Bank Sungard for E3 Prijs Vlaanderen: Jonas Aaen-Jörgensen (Den), Kasper Klostergaard (Den), Gustav Erik Larsson (Swe), Michael Morkov (Den), Nick Nuyens (Bel), Luke Roberts (Aus), David Tanner (Aus), Matteo Tossatto (Ita)
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Daniel Benson is the Editor in Chief at both Cyclingnews.com and BikePerfect.com. Based in the UK, he has worked within cycling for almost 15 years, and he joined the Cyclingnews team in 2008 as the site's first UK-based Managing Editor. In that time, he has reported on over a dozen editions of the Tour de France, several World Championships, the Tour Down Under, Spring Classics, and the London 2012 Olympic Games. With the help of the excellent editorial team, he runs the coverage on Cyclingnews and has interviewed leading figures in the sport including UCI Presidents and Tour de France winners.
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