South Africa’s Nolan Hoffman, who races for Team Abantu, finished a credible 5th place in the 15km Scratch Race at the UCI Track World Championships in Cali, Colombia, last night.
The 15km race was won in a time of 16 minutes 37 seconds by Russia’s Ivan Kovalev with an average speed of 54.1km/h. Defending World Champion, Martyn Irvine of Ireland, was 2nd with Hong Kong’s King Lok Cheung rounding out the podium.
Hoffman won the bunch sprint with his signature explosive sprint coming just short of catching the Ukrainian rider Roman Lutsyshyn who had attacked earlier and finished up in 4th place.
The 15km Scratch race saw 20 of the world’s top track riders vying for the rainbow stripes. Early attacks from Ukraine, Italy and Colombia were all marked as the race approached half way.
King Lok saw an opportunity just over the half way mark and took his chances with a solid attack. He was soon joined by Kovalev as the field started to play a tactical game allowing the two to lap the field.
The high speed caused the field to splinter and a select group of five riders went clear and quickly gained half a lap. This contained Dylan Kennet (New Zealand), Jordan Parra (Colombia), Elia Viviani (Italy) Jonathan Dibben (Great Britian) and Irvine. Irvine then attacked the group and went in pursuit of lapping the field solo, while Hoffman put in a big attack from the Peloton and bridged the gap to the now 4-man group a few metres off Irvine.
The Irishman managed to latch onto the back of the peloton as the four-man group began to lose firepower and were eventually caught with 10 laps remaining. The Ukranian put in one last effort to lap the field and gained half a lap. Hoffman using his signature sprint finish managed to win the bunch sprint ending up 5th place.
Hoffman was content with the result but disappointed in just missing out on a medal: “The Scratch is a lottery. You have only one opportunity to make it count and I had a go and managed to ride across to a really dangerous move. By the time I got to the leading five, Irvine had slipped off the front and the rest of the guys started missing turns and then we were caught with 10 laps to go. We were so close at a stage, but that’s how the Scratch goes. Sometimes it goes your way other times not. I’m happy to have won the bunch sprint and finish in the top 5 in the world, which was the goal set by Dean (Edwards, Team manager) but I really wanted to get back on the podium. Tomorrow we will see how the Points race goes. This has given me a lot of confidence and I know I have some good form.”
The national team’s manager, Dean Edwards, was satisfied with the performance of Nolan describing it as a world class performance: “I’m happy that Nolan is back in the top echelon of the world rankings. Our primary goal was to be top 5 in the world again. He was the 2nd Commonwealth rider, which is a major focus for us, that being the Commonwealth Games. He raced with confidence and showed his speed and power by riding across to a dangerous move, which contained the big names. Unfortunately it didn’t stick and that’s the nature of the Scratch, it’s a 50/50 call and once you make it you have to commit. All in all, I’m satisfied with the result.”
Summary of results – Men’s 15km Scratch Race
1 Ivan KOVALEV (RUS) – Gold
2 Martyn IRVINE (IRL) – Silver
3 King Lok CHEUNG (HKG) – Bronze
4 Roman LUTSYSHYN (UKR)
5 Nolan HOFFMAN (RSA)
6 Maximilian BEYER (GER)
7 Dylan KENNETT (NZL)
8 Glenn O'SHEA (AUS)
9 Tim VELDT (NED)
10 Frank PASCHE (SUI)
Source: Dean Edwards, Team Abantu Press Release