Interview: Nolan Hoffman

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I had a chance to catch up with Nolan Hoffman in Amsterdam on Wednesday.

Do you race many six days?

Eh, I have before, and also I am now, quite a bit in the last 3 seasons.

How’d you get into it?

Because I always did track cycling, and my first was in 2009, in Zurich. Yeah, because I had a silver medal in the World Championships in 2012. The organizers always look to the world championships, to the medals, to see who they can bring. Normally if you medal, then it’s good for the six days and your profile.

I win a lot of races in South Africa, and it makes some sense for them to have me here; it, how do you say, it promotes cycling in Europe that it’s globalizing, like what the UCI did. I think people find it different to see all different sorts of nationalities just than the traditional Europeans, it brings some sort of diversity to the sport.

So what’s your favorite part of coming to Amsterdam? Do you get to see the city at all, or do you just come for the week and then go home?

Yeah, so far I haven’t been fortunate to get out, I’ve seen the city but yeah, it’s work as usual, you know, I don’t come for the holiday, I come for the racing and unfortunately I’m still pretty much in my season, so I have to keep focused, as I still have one really big race in South Africa in two weeks, so yeah, I have to stay healthy and keep going, and the racing here will also help me keep racing at a very high level, so it works for me.

And what’s your favorite six that you’ve ridden? They all have a different flavor, no?

Every six days is different, like here, people consider Amsterdam to be one of the smaller six days, but I would definitely say that my favorite would be Ghent, in terms of participation and the atmosphere. I don’t think anything beats Ghent, it’s like the monument of the six days, and it’s always considered to be the hardest. To finish Ghent, and be able to ride there, it was an incredible experience for me, the hospitality of the people there, it was phenomenal.

Yeah, they really know their cycling, don’t they?

That too, and I would say that the six days in the Netherlands and in Belgium is the best, it’s well-organized, it’s cycling crazy, it’s a cycling crazy nation, cycling here, to them, it’s… people really regard the athletes very highly. So it’s nice to be part of that small, niche group, and to show your talent in front of the crowds. It’s special, you don’t get it anywhere else in the world.

Which event hurts the most?

Uh… there’s so much…

So much pain?

Yeah, yeah, but I would say the last chase of each day, normally it’s longer than the first one and it’s more time suffering, and it’s the race where everybody gets tired, so it [requires] more concentration. Definitely the last chase, for me, is the hardest of the day.

I have one last question for you: what are you listening to on your iPod these days?

I’m a big — I’m a huge — Tiësto fan, I think he’s one of the DJs that’s been around forever and still is on top of his game. And I mean, he’s forever coming out with good music and that’s what makes the legs turn on the five-hour rides and all that, and on the rollers…

That’s the other reason why you like coming to the Netherlands, huh?

Yeah, yeah, I think I’m pretty Netherlands-crazy, because everything they have is pretty much up there in terms of talent, music, everything, it’s nice to be like the Dutch.

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