The potential of 18-year-old Exel team cyclist Hanco Kachelhoffer to become one of South Africa’s top riders was confirmed this week when he shared the award for the Most Promising Young Rider at the prestigious Pick ’n Pay Cyclist of the Year Awards.
It has been a while since there has been so much excitement surrounding a new cycling talent in this country, and many believe Kachelhoffer, an all-rounder who is also a strong climber and time trialist, to have all the makings of a top international rider.
"I believe that within the next two, maximum three, years, Hanco should be well on his way towards becoming a top international rider," said Bradley Smith, manager of the Exel team, which has in itself been a bit of a fairytale since taking a group of young, unknown and largely development riders such as Kachelhoffer and seeing them quickly mature into household names.
"We select riders whom we believe can develop into future national stars. Next year we want to send Hanco and some of our other riders oversees so they can gain some valuable experience there. Hanco has already been approached by several teams to join them, but fortunately for us he turned them all down. But the interest in him is growing," said Smith.
Kachelhoffer was spotted by Exel team captain Rupert Rheeder as a promising junior rider. He began competing in the major races for the first time this year and has made a tremendous impact with a third placed finish in the recent Pick ’n Pay 94.7 Cycle Challenge, as well as victories in the Captain Doregos Kimberley to Bloemfontein race, the Kremetart Tour, the Tzaneen Tropical Tour, and two stages in the Tour of Reunion.
"Hanco epitomises exactly what the Exel team is all about," said Smith. "We
reach into the communities of this country to find the potential and then help to nurture it to this level."