Von Hoff defends national criterium title

Steele von Hoff successfully defended his Australian national criterium title in his first race for NFTO as he outsprinted Caleb Ewan (Orica-GreenEdge) and Scott Sunderland (BudgetForklits) after 44km of racing on a warm Ballarat evening. Last year, von Hoff was the beneficiary of a final lap crash by Drapac but proved himself capable of holding his own against Australia's fastest sprinters in 2015.

Having cantered to three out of four wins at the Bay Crits last week, Ewan was unable to match the speed of von Hoff but held off Sunderland to claim a maiden elite national men's medal as the youngest rider in the field. For Sunderland, third place was further justification of his decision to switch from sprint to endurance and finished off the job for BudgetForklifts who were active throughout the race.

"Just relief, delight," von Hoff told reporters after the race of his emotions post-win. "I am amazed that I came through with that. I put so much pressure on myself today. I told Andrew [Christie-Johnson], once again, that I wanted to do it. I know I told him that last year and I don’t like taking it away from the team [von Hoff's old team, Avanti], because they are such a great team, but I wanted really wanted the jersey again to take over to Europe because I can actually use it racing in Britain. To take the jersey to NFTO and race in England, and display the Aussie colours, is going to be amazing."

The rain that sprinkled the road during the U23 men's and women's races passed over by the time the men were ready to tackle the 1.1km circuit in Ballarat. BudgetFoklifts, Avanti and CharterMason were seen on the front of the bunch early in the race while Drapac sat in observing who wanted to get in an early break. After a cagey opening 30 laps, Ben Hill took a flyer off the front with eight laps go after teammate Paul van der Ploeg had launched an attack of his own which saw him claim the sprint jersey as a reward.

Hill was joined by health.com.au-search2retain's Cameron Bayly as Michael Rogers moved up to the head of the peloton and it wasn't long before the Tinkoff-Saxo rider tried to bridge the gap to the leaders. Travis Meyer (Drapac) joined Rogers and the duo showed their class as they made the catch on the back straight of the second last lap. As the bell lap rang, a bunch sprint was on the cards with expectation that Ewan would add an elite title to his U23 win of 2014.

It wasn't to be though as Anthony Giacoppo, who finished fourth, was the first to launch out of the bottom final corner, forcing Leigh Howard's (Orica-GreenEdge) hand which in turn saw Ewan launch his sprint too soon allowing von Hoff to swoop and claim back-to-back green and gold jerseys after just over an hour of racing.


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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Steele von Hoff (VIC)1:01:17
2Caleb Ewan (NSW)Row 1 - Cell 2
3Scott Sunderland (WA)Row 2 - Cell 2
4Anthony Giacoppo (WA)Row 3 - Cell 2
5Angus Tobin (NSW)Row 4 - Cell 2
6Neil van der Ploeg (VIC)Row 5 - Cell 2
7Shannon Johnson (VIC)Row 6 - Cell 2
8Brenton Jones (VIC)Row 7 - Cell 2
9Benjamin Hill (ACT)Row 8 - Cell 2
10Fabio Calabria (VIC)0:00:04
11Malcolm Rudolph (QLD)Row 10 - Cell 2
12Marc Williams (ACT)Row 11 - Cell 2
13Dominik Dudkiewicz (VIC)Row 12 - Cell 2
14Alexander Smyth (VIC)Row 13 - Cell 2
15Stuart Grimsey (VIC)Row 14 - Cell 2
16Cameron Ivory (NSW)Row 15 - Cell 2
17Adam Allen (QLD)Row 16 - Cell 2
18Tyler Spurrell (VIC)Row 17 - Cell 2
19Ryan MacAnally (QLD)Row 18 - Cell 2
20Russell Gill (SA)0:00:08
21James Butler (VIC)Row 20 - Cell 2
22Leigh Howard (VIC)Row 21 - Cell 2
23Paul van der Ploeg (VIC)Row 22 - Cell 2
24Jonathan Bolton (WA)Row 23 - Cell 2
25Oliver Kent-Spark (VIC)Row 24 - Cell 2
26Matthias Kiernan (VIC)Row 25 - Cell 2
27Joel Strachan (VIC)Row 26 - Cell 2
28Kane Walker (VIC)0:00:11
29Travis Meyer (WA)Row 28 - Cell 2
30Samuel Witmitz (VIC)Row 29 - Cell 2
31Cameron Bayly (SA)Row 30 - Cell 2
32Cameron Fraser (NSW)Row 31 - Cell 2
33Craig Hutton (NSW)Row 32 - Cell 2
34Edward White (NSW)Row 33 - Cell 2
35Patrick Lane (VIC)0:00:13
36Aaron Watts (NSW)0:00:18
37Chris Stack (SA)0:00:26
38Rico Rogers (VIC)0:00:31
39Graeme Brown (NSW)Row 38 - Cell 2
40Michael Rogers (ACT)0:00:33
41Tom Robinson (TAS)0:00:39
42Mark Tupalski (ACT)0:00:41
43Cameron Peterson (NSW)0:00:43
44Mark O'Brien (VIC)0:00:54
45Joshua Taylor (NSW)0:01:00
46Callan Douglas (VIC)Row 45 - Cell 2
47Joel Walsh (NSW)0:01:14
48Samuel Spokes (NSW)0:01:17
49Stuart Shaw (ACT)0:02:53
50Patrick Shaw (VIC)0:03:27
51Aaron Donnelly (NSW)0:03:29
52Kristian Juel (QLD)0:03:31
DNFBernard Sulzberger (TAS)Row 52 - Cell 2
DNFMitchell Mulhern (QLD)Row 53 - Cell 2
DNFJulian Jacobs (WA)Row 54 - Cell 2
DNFJosh Berry (NSW)Row 55 - Cell 2
DNFEwyn Carter (VIC)Row 56 - Cell 2
DNFDane Crawford (NSW)Row 57 - Cell 2
DNFLuke Davison (SA)Row 58 - Cell 2
DNFDeclan Gregory (VIC)Row 59 - Cell 2
DNFTim Guy (NSW)Row 60 - Cell 2
DNFJake Magee (VIC)Row 61 - Cell 2
DNFTommy Nankervis (VIC)Row 62 - Cell 2
DNFLuke Ockerby (TAS)Row 63 - Cell 2
DNFJacob Sutherland (VIC)Row 64 - Cell 2
DNFGlenn O'Shea (SA)Row 65 - Cell 2
DNSWesley Sulzberger (TAS)Row 66 - Cell 2
DNSLuke Fetch (VIC)Row 67 - Cell 2
DNSJames Mowatt (VIC)Row 68 - Cell 2
DNSDylan Pierre-Humbert (WA)Row 69 - Cell 2


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