While the 10.1 kilometre Buninyong course at the Cycling Australia Road Championships has been criticised by some riders as "too hard" for a sprinter to succeed on, Steele Von Hoff (Chipotle Development) showed no shortage of tenacity to stay in the race and - had Lady Luck smiled a little differently on the Victorian, may well have been celebrating an unlikely national title.
Von Hoff finished sixth on the day, leading home the main field 1:11 back from winner Simon Gerrans (GreenEdge). Impressively, he outsprinted two WorldTour veterans in Chris Sutton (Sky) and Baden Cooke (GreenEdge) to take the result. It was a great performance from a man who has been criticised in the past for his unproven performance on longer, hillier parcours.
The sprinter explained to Cyclingnews he'd come close to getting dropped a few times but forced himself through the final few laps to get the result.
"I was cramping with three laps to go, and I tried to force the water down, then I felt bloated," said Von Hoff. "Then the laps just kept ticking down and all of a sudden it was the final lap."
"I was on Sutton's wheel, he went and I was on his wheel, and got past him to take sixth. I'm stoked."
Von Hoff added that he was really pleased to be able to stay right up there with the best riders on the climbs.
"I'm a sprinter, and it's the job of the other guys to drop me. The tip-top guys did that, but the other riders, the other sprinters couldn't get rid of me. Hopefully when I next come back, I'll even be able to follow the climbers."
Watch the full video interview below
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