Hoffmann qualifies for Olympics

Hoffmann qualifies for Olympics

NAMIBIAN cyclist Erik Hoffmann qualified for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games with an inspired ride in the B World Championships road race in Cape Town.

Hoffmann competed against a field of 164 riders from 48 countries. In a demonstration of mature tactics and power riding, Hoffmann rode into the history books to qualify Namibia for the first time for the road racing event for the Olympic Games when he finished second in the road race over the 161 kilometres course around the Cape Peninsula.The top five countries across the finish line in the road race automatically qualified for the Olympic Games.Veteran Namibian cyclist Mannie Heymans has participated twice in the Olympic Games in Mountain Biking, but this is the first time that Namibia qualifies in road cycling.The top 30 ranked nations in the world automatically qualify for the Olympic Games.The B World Championships is held in the year preceding the Olympic Games and gives nations who would not otherwise qualify an opportunity to do so.The championship road race course ran over the popular Argus route with three additional laps at the end between central Cape Town and Newlands.Racing conditions were fine with a strong south-easterly wind.Only 50km into the race a break was established consisting of seven riders, who by 70km had established a 1minute 45 seconds lead on the chasing peleton, which included the entire Namibian team.The break remained ahead but by 130km a group of four riders including Hoffmann started gaining on the leaders.Shortly before the leaders were caught, Ivan Stevic of Serbia broke and went ahead.In a display of power riding, Hoffmann demolished the competition but with 6km to go to the finish and a 20 second deficit, it was too late to close the gap on the powerful Serbian rider.Hoffmann finished in second place, 40 seconds down, the first African rider across the line.Alexandr Pliuschin of Moldovia finished third, three seconds behind Hoffmann.The remainder of the Namibian team fought bravely and Loto Petrus put in a valiant first half, chasing down attacks and being prominent at the front of the field.Two of the Namibian riders, Dan Craven and Jacques Celliers were forced to abandon the race due to stomach problems, while cramps also struck Petrus just ahead of Chapman fs Peak.Ananias Ananias finished 98th with Petrus 106th and Ermin van Wyk 108th out of 161 starters and only 111 finishers.The objective of this event was both Olympic qualification and preparation for the All Africa Games, which starts in Algiers on July 11.Namibia won two silver medals at the previous games and a silver medal at the African Champs.In a demonstration of mature tactics and power riding, Hoffmann rode into the history books to qualify Namibia for the first time for the road racing event for the Olympic Games when he finished second in the road race over the 161 kilometres course around the Cape Peninsula.The top five countries across the finish line in the road race automatically qualified for the Olympic Games.Veteran Namibian cyclist Mannie Heymans has participated twice in the Olympic Games in Mountain Biking, but this is the first time that Namibia qualifies in road cycling.The top 30 ranked nations in the world automatically qualify for the Olympic Games.The B World Championships is held in the year preceding the Olympic Games and gives nations who would not otherwise qualify an opportunity to do so.The championship road race course ran over the popular Argus route with three additional laps at the end between central Cape Town and Newlands.Racing conditions were fine with a strong south-easterly wind.Only 50km into the race a break was established consisting of seven riders, who by 70km had established a 1minute 45 seconds lead on the chasing peleton, which included the entire Namibian team.The break remained ahead but by 130km a group of four riders including Hoffmann started gaining on the leaders.Shortly before the leaders were caught, Ivan Stevic of Serbia broke and went ahead.In a display of power riding, Hoffmann demolished the competition but with 6km to go to the finish and a 20 second deficit, it was too late to close the gap on the powerful Serbian rider.Hoffmann finished in second place, 40 seconds down, the first African rider across the line.Alexandr Pliuschin of Moldovia finished third, three seconds behind Hoffmann.The remainder of the Namibian team fought bravely and Loto Petrus put in a valiant first half, chasing down attacks and being prominent at the front of the field.Two of the Namibian riders, Dan Craven and Jacques Celliers were forced to abandon the race due to stomach problems, while cramps also struck Petrus just ahead of Chapman fs Peak.Ananias Ananias finished 98th with Petrus 106th and Ermin van Wyk 108th out of 161 starters and only 111 finishers.The objective of this event was both Olympic qualification and preparation for the All Africa Games, which starts in Algiers on July 11.Namibia won two silver medals at the previous games and a silver medal at the African Champs.

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