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

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 Nationals would normally be one of the biggest races on my calendar but that's obviously been superseded now."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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Alex Hinds, Production Editor

Sydney, Australia

Alex Hinds is a graduate of Economics and Political Science from Sydney University. Growing up in the metropolitan area of the city he quickly became a bike junkie, dabbling in mountain and road riding. Alex raced on the road in his late teens, but with the time demands of work and university proving too much, decided not to further pursue full-time riding.

If he was going to be involved in cycling in another way the media seemed the next best bet and jumped at the opportunity to work in the Sydney office of Cyclingnews when an offer arose in early 2011.

Though the WorldTour is of course a huge point of focus throughout the year, Alex also takes a keen interest in the domestic racing scene with a view to helping foster the careers of the next generation of cycling.

When not writing for Cyclingnews Alex is a strong proponent of the awareness of cyclists on the road in Sydney having had a few close run-ins with city traffic in the past.