Steele von Hoff declared his relief after winning round eight of this year’s Pearl Izumi Tour Series, in London’s Canary Wharf, following a frantic sprint.
Von Hoff narrowly pipped Ed Clancy (JLT-Condor) and Chris Opie at the end of a thrilling night’s racing, in which the latter’s One Pro Cycling squad took the team prize to move within one point of series leaders Madison-Genesis.
“It’s a bit of a relief – round eight and I finally got there,” said NFTO’s von Hoff.
“I always thought this could be a good round for me as it’s a fast circuit. I had my eye on some others, but sometimes I didn’t have the legs or the positioning to challenge.
“The boys positioned me perfectly, Zach [May] rode for the last 15 laps or so, then Jonny [McEvoy] put me on the wheel of Clancy. It wasn’t a very good wheel to be on, because he is so fast. It was difficult to come round him but I just about got there!”
That the race ended in a bunch sprint was down to the battle at the top of the overall standings. Leaders Madison suffered an early blow when Yorkshireman Tom Stewart was felled in an early crash, which prompted manager Roger Hammond to instruct his four other riders to wait for Stewart. This set up a team pursuit showdown between Madison and One.
One’s frantic pacesetting saw them lap Madison in the closing stages, but because their speed also whittled the peloton down to 15 riders, it meant that Madison managed to finish second on the night (because of the series’ new-for-2015 time-based format) and maintain their place at the top of the standings.
“It’s one point we’ve crawled back after a hard effort,” said One’s Jon Mould. “It was 40-minutes flat out.”