We all love a good comeback story, don’t we? Images of Matthew Hayman turbo training his way to Paris-Roubaix glory or Silvan Dillier just making the cut for the team before a heroic second place finish all inspire us to get on the bike and keep pedalling away.
Well Steele Von Hoff has added his story to the ever growing list of plucky underdogs who have come back from breaking point to success.
Two months ago Von Hoff achieved a dream of his life (so far) when he was named as part of the Australian squad for the upcoming Commonwealth games.
A huge honour for the Victoria-born rider, Von Hoff celebrated with a trip to his local criterium race where he took part in what was supposed to be an easy spin. That was until he found himself in a pile up.
Well Tuesday was a roller coaster🎢… from highs to lows! Took a tumble at Sandown and ended up in the @thealfredhospital with 4 cracked vertebrae. Road to recovery for @commgamesaus begins now! Let’s see if I can channel my teammate pull off a Mat Hayman! Thanks to all the staff at Alfred Hospital for the Royal Treatment! 🤦🏻♂️🤕
The 30-year-old’s dreams seemingly started to slip away as he was diagnosed with four fractures to his neck. With two months to go, his hopes of winning in his native country, let alone take part, were all but diminished.
However, that didn’t stop the Aussie from trying and as soon as he was able, Von Hoff was out on a recumbent bike strapped in with a neck brace getting the miles in.
This was Steele von Hoff a month ago, riding a mountain bike for the first time in a neck brace after breaking four vertebrae. Today he became Commonwealth Games champion with gold in the road race. One of the most incredible things I've ever seen. pic.twitter.com/TfgzHBsxqr
— Reece Homfray (@reecehomfray) April 14, 2018
The accident came at a time when Von Hoff was feeling confident about his chances, the winner of the points jersey at the Herald Sun Tour as well as well as a few top 10s including seventh at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race.
So he knew he could mix it with the best the Commonwealth game had to offer but he still had to make fitness.
Soon transferring to a mountain bike for a more upright position, Von Hoff plugged away before taking his neck brace off just weeks before he was scheduled to race.
Over the 169km race, Von Hoff stayed calm and in the thick of it. As the finish line approached, the 30-year-old broke out and in a two man sprint against Welsh rider Jon Mould, Von Hoff edged it marking one of the most remarkable comebacks of the year.
Bloody love it when someone does something really quite special. I remember seeing a pic of Steele Von Hoff very much not long ago post crash, training on a mountain bike, with a back/neck brace aiming for commies. I definitely wrote him off even competing in my mind, along with a ‘wtf is he even thinking’ thought train of his utter madness, and at times like these being proved wrong is the best feeling there is. I love the commies, I’m gutted to have missed them but Steele winning the road race is a highlight. @steelervh 💪
Many around the peloton were not only shocked but inspired by the determination of the rider who never gave up.
Evaldas Siskevicius was another rider who showed that you can never beat the guy who never gives up when he wouldn’t give in to the broom wagon at Paris-Roubaix two weeks ago.