It’s not a proper Six Day unless it’s a marathon to get there – and really you should arrive in a different country. My journey to the Rotterdam Six Day 2012 meant a super-early start, Transit van to West Craigs, cab to Edinburgh airport, plane to Amsterdam, train to Rotterdam, Metro to the Ahoy Stadium – then walk across the road.

I arrived in the same country though, so it’s not really a proper trip.

Rotterdam Six Day 2012
Rabobank – who else – is sponsoring the Six.

In Grenoble we were just a little too early for Johnny Halliday, here we’re too early for The Backstreet Boys – damn!

It’s a portable track here, 200 metres, but unlike Zurich which is on timber trusses, this one is on steel portals which makes it an altogether stiffer job – it’s 13.5 degrees on the straights and 49.5 on the bankings.

Gent is only 160 metres – and the smallest track you can run a UCI Six Day on is 140 metres.

The Zurich track surface is laminated board which looks like individual strips of wood, but isn’t – there’s no pretence here, it’s good old 8′ x 4′ plywood sheets.

Rotterdam Six Day 2012
The band here is quite good. Do tend to play the same set quite a lot though.

The teams that catch my eye are in the programme are #2 Terpstra/Keisse, #3 Ligthart/Bartko, #6 Schep/Stroetinga, #9 Mouris/Marvulli – they look like the podium teams to me.

Kris reckons from what he saw last night (Thursday, Day One), teams #2, #6 and #9 are the ones.

There are a few stalwarts at the Revolution – Grasmann, Müller and Aeschbach for instance, but the field here isn’t at all bad.

As well as my faves above, there’s Stam/Havik; this is the last Dutch Six Day of Danny’s career, so he’ll want to go out on a ‘high’ – and Havik was good at Amsterdam.

Rotterdam Six Day 2012
Alex Rasmussen is back, riding with Stöpler – another rider who was good at Amsterdam. Alex is riding to and from the hotel, but it won’t surprise many of you to read that he was late!

And Lampater rides with Van Bon – the curly headed Dutchman will be 40 this month so this must be his last season, too.

Further to Danny Clark kicking men half his age around the track at nearly 50, a rule was introduced that you had to quit at 40.

Maybe if Danny hadn’t looked like he was 60? He actually looks younger now than he did in his prime.

That says something about Six Day racing – but Danny was riding between a dozen and 17 races each season, no wonder he looked grim.

In the cabin we have Jesper Mørkøv, Franco Marvulli and Alex Rasmussen – it’s good to see him back, he’s lost a little more weight and looks in great shape.

He pedals in and out to the hotel – seven kilometres each way, but has also been banging in an extra couple of hours, each afternoon.

Put your money on him now for the Giro prologue in May.

Rotterdam Six Day 2012
Franco was in Australia over Xmas and has good colour – and good morale.

Franco is leading here with big Dutchman Jens Mouris, who’s looking very smooth and strong in the chases.

I was down in the assembly area when the U23 riders were getting their pre-race briefing; ‘I want this race to be conducted in a sporting fashion!’ said the commissaire.

The silence was deafening.

On the techie side, Bartko has finally given up on his Cervélo and is on a Giant (despite what the decals say) his position is still extreme though, way forward over the bracket.

Rotterdam Six Day 2012
Bob’s saddle position – don’t do this at home kids.
Rotterdam Six Day 2012
Big Bob.

Alex has gone the other way and is on a Cervélo – Garmin’s bike sponsors after all – his long term relationship with Principias at an end.

Rotterdam Six Day 2012
Guillame rubs Iljo.

Iljo’s Dolans have gone now that he’s back with QuickStep; he’s on Specialized and teamed with race and trade team mate Niki Terpstra – stunningly light bikes.

Rotterdam Six Day 2012
Iljo’s steed.
Rotterdam Six Day 2012
Dirk, our mechanic reckons the Specializeds are actually too light.
Rotterdam Six Day 2012
The popularity of Cam Meyer’s 3T ‘Sphinx’ bars continues to grow, Alex had gone over to them and so too has Danny Stam.

And the masking tape has been out in force on the Vacansoleil boys’ Ridleys – they ride Bianchis for 2012.

The racing?

It’s good – the track is quick (the lap record is 10.305 for Chris Hoy in 2009) the field is good and so are the crowds.

From a runner’s perspective it’s a good Six, not too janitorial and the food is good – the only real ‘neg’ is the lack of space.

Rotterdam Six Day 2012
One good thing about having the kitchens so close by – you get to be on first name terms with the chefs, Edwin and Frans.

The cabin area is very tight, and you can’t really see much of the racing due to the track centre VIP kitchen being right behind us.

And in one of our cabins we have to find room for three riders, Franco plus two Dutch lads who have no soigneur or runner.

They’ll be on a small contract and can’t afford the ‘luxury’ but they way they leave their stuff does my head in – it’s like the cabin has been hit by an Exocet.

Rotterdam Six Day 2012
It’s a bit crowded here!

Unhappiest men of the day?

Kevin Sireau, slumped at reception, mumbling in to a mobile; he started the day as World Team Sprint Champion and ended it as ‘just another rider’ – albeit the fastest man alive over 200 metres – thanks to Big Gregory’s Whereabouts indiscretions.

Shouldn’t the UCI have a page on their website where anyone can check what the missed Whereabouts standings are?

If a rider has one warning then this would keep it in his management’s line of site and also mean that Cav’s missing of a test was ‘out there’ immediately in the public eye and not some ‘mega revelation?’

Maybe that would be too sensible?

And it wasn’t a good day for 2010 Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne winner, Bobby Traksel.

Rotterdam Six Day 2012
Early days, and Traksel leads van Bon.

After 20 minutes of the 60 minute chase you could see he was starting to struggle, 20 minutes later, he was wasted – unable to hold the string.

When a rider is that fried they become very dangerous, their judgement is impaired and they make mistakes.

It was painful to watch Bobby, and by the end team #12, Jonkman/Pronk were in the same boat – gasping at the back of the string until an attack goes and they start the inexorable slide back to the front of the string.

Rotterdam Six Day 2012
Marvulli/Mouris held on to the lead so it was a happy cabin.

And here’s your Six Day ‘rule of the day’:

3.2.002 ‘Riders shall refrain from any collusion, manoeuvre or movement likely to hinder the conduct or distort the result of the race.’

Hmmmm!

Rotterdam Six Day 2012
Niki Terpstra in his new team strip.


Rotterdam Six Day - Results from Day One


Ploegkoers


1 9 Mouris – Marvulli
2 4 Stöpler – Rasmussen
3 5 Lampater – v Bon
4 2 Terpstra – Keisse
5 3 Ligthart – Bartko
6 1 Stam – Havik
7 13 Markus – Hester
8 8 Kreder W – Boskamp
9 11 Traksel – Vermeulen
10 12 Jonkman – Pronk
11 6 Schep – Stroetinga
12 7 Mørkøv – Pieters
13 10 Kreder R – Kreder M

Koppelafvalkoers


1 6 Schep – Stroetinga
2 1 Stam – Havik
3 10 Kreder R – Kreder M
4 2 Terpstra – Keisse
5 4 Stöpler – Rasmussen
6 5 Lampater – v Bon
7 9 Mouris – Marvulli
8 13 Markus – Hester
9 11 Traksel – Vermeulen
10 12 Jonkman – Pronk
11 7 Mørkøv – Pieters
12 8 Kreder W – Boskamp
13 3 Ligthart – Bartko

Derny's - 1e Serie


1 12 Pronk-Bakker
2 2 Keisse-Zijlaard R
3 4 Rasmussen-Kos
4 10 Kreder-Vaarten
5 6 Stroetinga-Stam C
6 8 Boskamp-Huybrechts

Afvalling


1 5 Lampater – v Bon
2 2 Terpstra – Keisse
3 13 Markus – Hester
4 3 Ligthart – Bartko
5 9 Mouris – Marvulli
6 12 Jonkman – Pronk
7 8 Kreder W – Boskamp
8 7 Mørkøv – Pieters
9 11 Traksel – Vermeulen
10 10 Kreder R – Kreder M
11 6 Schep – Stroetinga
12 1 Stam – Havik
13 4 Stöpler – Rasmussen

Derny's - 2e Serie


1 1 Havik-Huybrechts
2 11 Vermeulen-Kos
3 13 Hester-Vaarten
4 5 Bon van-Stam C
5 7 Pieters-Zijllaard J
6 3 Bartko-Zijlaard R
7 9 Marvulli-Bakker

Koppelkoers


1 6 Schep – Stroetinga
2 9 Mouris – Marvulli
3 4 Stöpler – Rasmussen
4 2 Terpstra – Keisse
5 1 Stam – Havik
@ 1 Lap
6 5 Lampater – v Bon
7 3 Ligthart – Bartko
@ 3 Laps
8 10 Kreder R – Kreder M
9 13 Markus – Hester
@ 4 Laps
10 11 Traksel – Vermeulen
11 8 Kreder W – Boskamp
12 7 Mørkøv – Pieters
@ 7 Laps
13 12 Jonkman – Pronk

Koppeltijdrit


1 4 Stöpler – Rasmussen 21.992
2 9 Mouris – Marvulli 22.031
3 6 Schep – Stroetinga 22.078
4 10 Kreder R – Kreder M 22.594
5 13 Markus – Hester 22.670
6 5 Lampater – v Bon 22.703
7 11 Traksel – Vermeulen 22.820
8 3 Ligthart – Bartko 22.891
9 8 Kreder W – Boskamp 23.289
10 2 Terpstra – Keisse 23.680
11 1 Stam – Havik 23.984
12 12 Jonkman – Pronk 24.031
13 7 Mørkøv – Pieters 24.188

Supersprint


1 9 Mouris – Marvulli
2 2 Terpstra – Keisse
3 13 Markus – Hester
4 7 Mørkøv – Pieters
5 10 Kreder R – Kreder M
6 11 Traksel – Vermeulen
7 8 Kreder W – Boskamp
8 12 Jonkman – Pronk
9 6 Schep – Stroetinga
10 4 Stöpler – Rasmussen
11 5 Lampater – v Bon
12 1 Stam – Havik
13 3 Ligthart – Bartko

Rotterdam Six Day - Overall after Day One


1 9 Mouris Jens – Marvulli Franco
2 6 Schep Peter – Stroetinga Wim
3 4 Stöpler Nick – Rasmussen Alex
4 2 Terpstra Niki – Keisse Iljo
5 1 Stam Danny – Havik Yoeri
@ 1 Lap
6 5 Lampater Leif – Bon van Leon
7 3 Ligthart Pim – Bartko Robert
@ 3 Laps
8 10 Kreder Raymond – Kreder Michel
9 13 Markus Barry – Hester Marc
@ 4 Laps
10 7 Mørkøv Jesper – Pieters Roy
11 11 Traksel Bobbie – Vermeulen Jeff
12 8 Kreder Wesley – Boskamp Melvin
@ 7 Laps
13 12 Jonkman GeertJan – Pronk Jos


 

Rotterdam Six Day 2012
Franco is in the lead and all smiles.


Rotterdam Six Day - Results from Day Two


Ploegkoers


1 2 Terpstra – Keisse
2 9 Mouris – Marvulli
3 13 Markus – Hester
4 1 Stam – Havik
5 10 Kreder R – Kreder M
6 5 Lampater – v Bon
7 3 Ligthart – Bartko
8 8 Kreder W – Boskamp
9 11 Traksel – Vermeulen
10 7 Mørkøv – Pieters
11 4 Stöpler – Rasmussen
12 6 Schep – Stroetinga
13 12 Jonkman – Pronk

Koppelafvalkoers


1 3 Ligthart – Bartko
2 6 Schep – Stroetinga
3 2 Terpstra – Keisse
4 10 Kreder R – Kreder M
5 4 Stöpler – Rasmussen
6 5 Lampater – v Bon
7 1 Stam – Havik
8 13 Markus – Hester
9 9 Mouris – Marvulli
10 12 Jonkman – Pronk
11 8 Kreder W – Boskamp
12 11 Traksel – Vermeulen
13 7 Mørkøv – Pieters

Derny's - 1e Serie


1 13 Markus – Zijllaard J
2 11 Traksel – Zijlaard R
3 8 Kreder – Bakker
4 10 Kreder – Vaarten
5 7 Mørkøv – Huybrechts
6 12 Jonkman – Stam C

Afvalling


1 1 Stam – Havik
2 5 Lampater – v Bon
3 4 Stöpler – Rasmussen
4 2 Terpstra – Keisse
5 12 Jonkman – Pronk
6 11 Traksel – Vermeulen
7 3 Ligthart – Bartko
8 8 Kreder W – Boskamp
9 7 Mørkøv – Pieters
10 10 Kreder R – Kreder M
11 13 Markus – Hester
12 6 Schep – Stroetinga
13 9 Mouris – Marvulli

Derny's - 2e Serie


1 6 Schep – Bakker
2 3 Ligthart – Zijlaard J
3 1 Stam – Vaarten
4 9 Mouris – Zijlaard R
5 2 Terpstra – Stam C
6 5 Lampater – Huybrechts
7 4 Stöpler – Kos

Koppeltijdrit


1 6 Schep – Stroetinga 21.789
2 4 Stöpler – Rasmussen 21.883
3 9 Mouris – Marvulli 22.188
4 10 Kreder R – Kreder M 22.352
5 5 Lampater – v Bon 22.398
6 13 Markus – Hester 22.438
7 11 Traksel – Vermeulen 22.484
8 3 Ligthart – Bartko 22.500
9 8 Kreder W – Boskamp 23.188
10 2 Terpstra – Keisse 23.320
11 1 Stam – Havik 23.484
12 12 Jonkman – Pronk 23.883
13 7 Mørkøv – Pieters

Koppelkoers


1 1 Stam – Havik
2 5 Lampater – v Bon
3 3 Ligthart – Bartko
@ 1 Lap
4 9 Mouris – Marvulli
5 6 Schep – Stroetinga
6 2 Terpstra – Keisse
7 4 Stöpler – Rasmussen
@ 2 Laps
8 13 Markus – Hester
@ 3 Laps
9 7 Mørkøv – Pieters
10 8 Kreder W – Boskamp
11 10 Kreder R – Kreder M
@ 4 Laps
12 11 Traksel – Vermeulen
@ 5 Laps
13 12 Jonkman – Pronk

Supersprint


1 9 Mouris – Marvulli
2 2 Terpstra – Keisse 0
3 4 Stöpler – Rasmussen
4 13 Markus – Hester
5 5 Lampater – v Bon
6 7 Mørkøv – Pieters
7 1 Stam – Havik
8 10 Kreder R – Kreder M
9 6 Schep – Stroetinga
10 11 Traksel – Vermeulen
11 8 Kreder W – Boskamp
12 3 Ligthart – Bartko
13 12 Jonkman – Pronk

Rotterdam Six Day - Overall after Day Two


1 9 Mouris Jens – Marvulli Franco 121
2 2 Terpstra Niki – Keisse Iljo 101
3 6 Schep Peter – Stroetinga Wim 101
4 1 Stam Danny – Havik Yoeri 75
@ 1 Lap
5 4 Stöpler Nick – Rasmussen Alex 86
6 5 Lampater Leif – Bon van Leon 76
7 3 Ligthart Pim – Bartko Robert 48
@5 Laps
8 13 Markus Barry – Hester Marc 58
@ 6 Laps
9 10 Kreder Raymond – Kreder Michel 54
@ 7 Laps
10 7 Mørkøv Jesper – Pieters Roy 18
11 8 Kreder Wesley – Boskamp Melvin 7
@8 Laps
12 11 Traksel Bobbie – Vermeulen Jeff 18
@ 12 Laps
13 12 Jonkman GeertJan – Pronk Jos 17


 

Rotterdam Six Day 2012
It’s the wee hours, but Alex sets off for the hotel.