Tuesday, May 24, 2022
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Ryan Oelkers – “I wouldn’t have changed a thing”

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Cleveland, Ohio, 1949 and when Charles Bergna and Cecil Yates hoisted their bouquets over their heads little did they know that it would be more than 50 years before another US pairing would do the same thing.

It was Bergna’s third win in Cleveland, his final career total was five wins; Yates was more prolific with 16 wins — but it was the end of the Golden Age for US Six Day riders.

It was Moscow in 2002 before the Stars and Stripes would fly for both riders at the end of a Six Day race — for 2000 Olympic sprint champion Marty Nothstein and Ryan Oelkers.

On the tenth anniversary of their win VeloVeritas thought it would be good to talk to Oelkers about his historic but largely overlooked win, his recent comeback as a master and his role in bringing cycling to the inner cities.