Steele Von Hoff became the second Australian to win the Rutland-Melton International CiCLE Classic cycle race in its 11th year yesterday (Sunday) as he snatched victory in a thrilling sprint finish.
The NFTO Pro Cycling rider’s victory was all the more remarkable because he battled back to get into contention after an early mechanical failure on the testing 180km course saw his chainring explode early in the ride.
However the 27-year-old rode aggressively and with the help of his team got back in the mix as the initial breakaway group, which included his team mate Ian Bibby, was swallowed up by the main peloton.
That left Von Hoff and One Pro Cycling’s Chris Opie at the front of the race but the latter dramatically punctured in the last few miles of the race. However remarkably his team kicked into action to pull him back to the front of the field as the leading group of about 50 riders entered the finish at Melton 10 minutes ahead of schedule because of the dry conditions.
Opie was able to contest the sprint with Von Hoff but didn’t quite have enough in his legs after concerting so much effort to get back in the mix.
Opie finished second and JLT Condor’s Harry Tanfield was third.
Closely behind them were AnPost-Chain Reaction’s Kiwi rider Aaron Gate in fourth and Raleigh GAC’s Ian Wilkinson in fifth.
However Von Hoff was shocked to discover he had won the race when he won a bunch sprint at the finish line in Melton as he had thought there were another four riders ahead of him.
In an interview with Cycling Weekly, Von Hoff said: “It was a real surprise because I thought there were four other riders away up the road.
“I thought there was a group that went earlier. I thought they were a long way off and we had no chance of catching up so I honestly thought we were sprinting for fifth.”
It is Von Hoff’s second victory of the season after winning the Jock Wadley Memorial.
Locally, Bourne rider and Peterborough Cycle Club resident professional Steve Lampier finished in 40th place but was only 20 seconds off the winner.
Lampier, riding for Team Raleigh GAC, was going very well but punctured at a vital time and the Raleigh team car struggled to get up to him in the chaotic conditions.
1 VON HOFF Steele NFTO Pro Cycling 04:16:15
2 OPIE Chris One Pro st
3 TANFIELD Harry JLT-Condor st
4 GATE Aaron An Post-Chain Reaction st
5 WILKINSON Ian Team Raleigh GAC st
6 VAN DIEMEN Jurgen Park Hotel Valkenburg Continental Team st
7 BEUKEBOOM Dion Park Hotel Valkenburg Continental Team st
8 BJERGFELT William SportGrub-Kuota st
9 OCKELOEN Jasper Park Hotel Valkenburg Continental Team st
10 PEYSKENS Dimitri Team 3M st
11 MOSES Thomas JLT-Condor st
12 PATON Alex Pedal Heaven RT st
13 DE JONGE Maarten Bike Aid st
14 TENNANT Andy Team Wiggins st
15 SYBRANDY Wouter Nunn-Sigma Sport-London RT st
16 APPLEBY Dale NFTO Pro Cycling st
17 MAXWELL Oliver SportGrub-Kuota st
18 NOLTEN Bram Park Hotel Valkenburg Continental Team st
19 ROWSELL Eric Madison-Genesis st
20 McCONVEY Connor Team 3M st
21 BARKER Yanto One Pro st
22 TANNER Jake Team 3M st
23 HANDLEY Richard JLT-Condor st
24 BIALOBLCKI Marcin One Pro st
25 AITKEN Roger Team Asea st
26 LAWLEY Steven Neon Velo Cycling Team st
27 SCULLY Thomas Madison-Genesis st
28 KNEISKY Morgan Team Raleigh GAC @10s
29 OLIPHANT Evan Team Raleigh GAC @13s
30 BIBBY Ian NFTO Pro Cycling st
31 WILLIAMS Peter One Pro @15s
32 MCNALLY Mark Madison-Genesis st
33 DOMAGALSKI Karol Team Raleigh GAC st
34 CERVENKA Martin AC Sparta Praha @18s
35 FLEEMAN Dan SportGrub-Kuota @22s
36 BECK Joschka Bike Aid @24s
37 HARRISON Sam NFTO Pro Cycling st
38 GOOVAERTS Tom CCT-Champion System st
39 NEWEY James Zappis Racing @26s
40 LAMPIER Steve Team Raleigh GAC st
41 FERGUSON Callum Zappis Racing st
42 LEWIS Gruffudd Pedal Heaven RT st
43 HAMPTON Russell Team Polypipe st
44 McEVOY Jonathan NFTO Pro Cycling @29s
45 MULLEN Ryan An Post-Chain Reaction @44s
46 BECIS Armands Reitumu-Delfin @52s
47 MORENO SALA Adria Velosure Starley Primal Pro Cycling @56s
48 NEALE Tom Catford CC-Equipe Banks @1:28
49 LORENTE Carlos Keith-Mobel-Partizan @2:06
50 DUNNE Connor An Post-Chain Reaction @2:54
51 STOHR Pavel AC Sparta Praha @3:07
52 STEWART Thomas Madison-Genesis @3:25
53 PATON Iain Team Wiggins @3:44
54 LOWE Samual Team Raleigh GAC @4:23
55 KENWAY Adam SportGrub-Kuota st
56 MOYE Anthony Easton-Ritte st
57 JUDD James Park Hotel Valkenburg Continental Team @4:49
58 BARRAS Tom NFTO Pro Cycling @5:36
59 HOUSE Kristian JLT-Condor @6:49
60 NORTHEY Michael Madison-Genesis @7:53
61 HORTON Tobyn Madison-Genesis st
62 SLATER Alistair An Post-Chain Reaction st
63 AULD Scott Zappis Racing st
64 DZERVUS Darijus CCT-Champion System st
65 WILLIAMS Stephen Pedal Heaven RT @9:18
66 McAULEY Ali Team Asea @10:56
67 MAYER Yannick Bike Aid @13:27
68 THOMPSON Mike Team Wiggins st
69 CARPENTER Lawrence Catford CC-Equipe Banks st
70 BICHLMANN Daniel Bike Aid st
71 ROBINSON Hugo Neon Velo Cycling Team st
72 REID Stuart Wheelbase-Altura-MGD st
73 HALES Jake Spirit Bikes Race Team @13:40
74 STOKES Bradley Achieve Skinnergate Racing st
75 LINES David Velosure Starley Primal Pro Cycling st
76 FIALA Petr AC Sparta Praha st
77 GULLEN James Velosure Starley Primal Pro Cycling st
78 STOHR Jan AC Sparta Praha st
79 MONTGOMERY David Team 3M st
80 STANNUS Jordan An Post-Chain Reaction st
81 STEDMAN Max Pedal Heaven RT st
82 TANFIELD Charlie Easton-Ritte st
83 TIPPER Jacob Neon Velo Cycling Team st