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"I am pretty excited to be wearing the colours tonight," Steele von Hoff told Cyclingnewson Sunday afternoon.

Photo: Sirotti

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STEELE VON HOFF

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TOUR DOWN UNDER

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19.01.2014 @ 11:08 Posted by Aleksandra Górska

Steele von Hoff of Garmin-Sharp, crowned the new Australian men's National Criterium Champion, will ride the Santos Tour Down Under opening event – People Choice’s Classic, in the Green and Gold outfit for the first time.

 

"I am pretty excited to be wearing the colours tonight," he told Cyclingnewson Sunday afternoon.

 

"I don't get too many opportunities this year to wear the jersey so this is my biggest one."

The 26-year old Garmin-Sharp rider does not hide how proud and excited he feels to wear a national colours at the Tour Down Under opening event.

 

"It's a huge honour to be in that jersey," said von Hoff, who still has his sights set on a national road race title.

 

"It means you are the national champion and best at what you do in that discipline. I have always wanted to win this jersey and I couldn't be happier."

Still, von Hoff remains rather realistic about his chances for claiming a final glory in the People Choice’s Classic, as he will face an extremely tough competition in the criterium, in the likes of Marcel Kittel and Andre Greipel.


"There are other teams with such great lead-out trains, so someone like myself on a team with such major GC aspirations won't get much support," said von Hoff. "So to get to the finish line I will look to Lotto, Giant-Shimano and Orica-GreenEdge.

"There are a few corners quite close to the finish," he explained further. "I need to try to get into position before those corners. Basically you will have to be top three coming out of those corners otherwise you are not going to contest for the win."

Although the People's Choice Classic is not an official UCI event, von Hoff feels that a win would set him up for the remainder of the year and provide his team some much needed publicity.

 

"It would be absolutely fantastic to win," he said. "The Tour Down Under is against a world-class field and winning it would be just as good as getting a podium in a UCI race."

Apart from the criterium race, von Hoff has picked stage one of this years TDU as the one to shine at.

"For me personally, stage one is a really good stage," he said.

 

"I've looked at the profile and it really quite suits me if I can get over [Menglers Hill] the finish is slightly uphill and I don't believe Kittel will be featuring on a tough finish like that. It might also take the sting out of Greipel's legs as well and I am climbing quite well so it will suit someone like myself or Orica's Michael Mathews coming down to the line, or even Simon Gerrans."

While his Garnim-Sharp will be focused on general classification with Rohan Dennis as a team leader, von Hoff is expected to be given a free hand at the Australian World Tour race.

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"Jack Bauer and Nathan Haas may be able to help me get into position before the finish, but we are all focused on getting Rohan, or any other Garmin-Sharp riders, to the finish on top," von Hoff concluded. "This is not about me, and I want to serve my team.

"Last year Jack Bauer was on GC and quite often I was his last man trying to pull him into place such as the Willunga Stage when I rode him straight into the bottom of the hill," he concluded. "On the Corkscrew [Hill] I was his last man to put him into position before the final climb so I will definitely serve a team role, but make no mistake I will take advantage of an opportunity if it presents itself and that could be tonight."

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