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Tag: Rotterdam 6 Day
Forgive me if all I do these days is moan about Six Day finales. But ... As Chelsea Dagger by the Fratellis booms out of the PA the scoreboard tells me Kenny De Ketele and Moreno De Pauw are FOUR laps clear in the last chase at the Rotterdam Six Day 2018. It's a real cliff hanger ...
The phone rings – it’s Viktor, VeloVeritas’ resident sage, critic and general cycling Nostradamus. I steel myself; ‘Happy New Year’ I say. ‘Aye, Happy New Year to you, too – here, have you been watching the live stream from Rotterdam, it’s brilliant!’ and that’s how I came to be speaking to Mr. David Harmon...
It's an easy life on the sixes; we bailed out of the truck stop at around 10:00 then drove for four hours to Bremen airport to collect 32 year old American rider Bradley Huff - he's one of our riders for Bremen. But Brad had been and gone - and his mobile is shot, making communication impossible. But somehow he made it to the stadium.
Schep/Stroetinga win, Franco and Mouris second, Stam/Havik third - a result which everyone is pretty happy with. The Dutch winners are the classic Six Day combo - big, strong, mature, silky smooth Schep and the younger, smaller, more erratic but rapid Stroetinga. Franco was good - very good, and Mouris is one big, strong, consistent 'beast of a boy'.
Dernys, you love them or you hate them, they're a big part of the Sixes; and always with a capital 'D'-Roger Derny et Fils first manufactured them in Paris, in 1938. There's some real Derny history on the boards here-the tall, slim, grey haired man who chases the riders up to their events is Bruno Walrave.
The 'Devil' had just started when I wandered down the stairs in search of bottles of water (still - no gas), and by the time I got back what should have been 'just another race' had become another of those episodes which remind you that as well as being glamorous, the sport is also a very dangerous one.
It's not a proper six unless it's a marathon to get there - and really you should arrive in a different country. My journey to the Rotterdam Six Day 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 has been won and lost; and now, so too has Bremen - Home Boys Bartko/Bensch topped the podium from Suisse pair Franco Marvulli/Alexander Aeschbach with the Danes, Jens-Erik Madsen/Marc Hester third. The home win was greatly assisted by a format which dispensed with Dernys and was time trial heavy. There was a one lap, 500 metre and 1,000 metre time test every day. There were points for all three but significantly, there was a bonus lap if a team won all three - something which the Germans managed to achieve on a couple of occasions. Not only that, a win in all three also meant 50 bonus points - bear in mind that every time a team achieves 100 points they gain a bonus lap and it means that the time trial wins were worth one-and-a-half laps advantage. Most didn't like the format - but Bartko/Bensch loved it!
Rotterdam Six Day: It's approaching midnight, we're in the camper, headed north out of Holland to Bremen in Germany on a pan flat, black motorway. Kris is headed for the Six Days of Bremen to work with Franco Marvulli (fingers crossed that he's well) and Jens-Erik Madsen. I fly home to Bonnie Scotland from Bremen - my next six is Berlin, for the last two days, then Copenhagen. Stam/Van Bon won in Rotterdam from Keisse/De Ketele and Bartko/Ligthart - despite Ligthart looking near death for much of the last chase.
I was sitting next to this chap, drinking my coffee, eating my Vacansoleil cookie and thinking; 'I should know who he is, he's the double of Ezequiel Mosquera.' Then the penny dropped; it was Old Zeke, in person, my - now tarnished - hero from the Vuelta. I'd forgotten that he'd joined Vacansoleil as one of their mountain men. He looked out of place and wistful throughout proceedings - the language barrier is a high one. He speaks very little English and despite The Netherlands' historic links with Spain, it's not a common language in these parts...
The theme from 'Star Wars' plays as the U23 riders victory ceremony gets underway - not long 'til the lunch time kick off. I haven't seen much of the U23 event, the riders don't share the area we're in and when their racing is on I'm usually busy getting our cabin set up. There's more of that confusing team changing thing going on again - Terpstra is now with Lampater who was with Stroetinga until he crashed. Mouris goes with Pronk who's been dragged back to the fold - I hope he didn't go on the kebabs and pils, last night.
It was 'musical riders' on Saturday night: Franco is out with sickness; his partner, Netherlands road race champion, Niki Terpstra now goes with tall pursuiter, Jens Mouris. Terpstra is a big draw and has to be a part of the race; he can't continue to sit-out the chases. The tall Dutchman has the build of a champion, a broad chest to house big lungs, a slim waist and well muscled, long thighs to put down the power.
The buzz off iljo's rollers fills my ears as I write this; despite the best efforts of the UCI, he's still here and looking sharp. My amigo, Dirk the mechanic was telling me that Iljo is retaining two of the three best lawyers in Belgium - I'm glad I'm not paying the bills. It's Saturday 17:20 and night three isn't far away; this is me just getting round to my VeloVeritas duties. I woke at 09:00 - we got to sleep at 03:00 - I'd hoped to repose until 10:30 but someone fired up a generator what seemed like 6" from my ear and there was nothing else to do but get up.
It wouldn't be a Six without off the track dramas - you'll all be familiar by now with the 'Iljo Saga.' Who ever you think is at fault, there's no doubt that the sport's governing body is now doing itself no favours with the way it's handling this situation. They tell the Rotterdam organiser that Keisse shouldn't start, but when Frank Boelé says; 'and you'll pick up the tab for the 50,000 Euros/day fine if Keisse's judgement sticks because I'm denying him the right to ride?' 'Oh no!' comes the reply from Aigle.
"Hello Mr. Sercu, how's life?" I ask at the Rotterdam Six Day 2011. "Well, I'm still alive!" comes the reply. He's a 'glass half empty' kind of a guy is Patrick, sometimes. But he's sport director here at the 6-daagse Rotterdam and not to be messed with. And he has a lot on his mind; his 'boy' Iljo Keisse may be smiling out at me from the 'programmakrant;' but there's no one smiling at UCI HQ in Switzerland. They've instructed Frank Boele, the organiser here, that Iljo is not to start...