Monday, September 20, 2021
HomeInterviewsAlfie George - On Winning the u23 Gent Six Day!

Alfie George – On Winning the u23 Gent Six Day!

"It all came down to the last madison where our endurance came through; we only took the lead on the second last night so it wasn't a foregone conclusion we had it won."

-

Peter Van Petegem, Kenny De Ketele, Simon Yates, Chris Lawless, Mark Stewart – what have they all got in common? Apart from the fact they were/are quality bike riders? They’ve all won the amateur, now u23 Gent Six Day race on the hallowed boards of the Kuipke Velodrome in the city’s Citadel Park.

And in case you ever wondered, the name translates roughly as ‘tin bath,’ like the one the coal miners used to use ‘back in the day,’ the shape of the track being of similar shape. 

Adding his name to the roll of honour is Scotland’s Alfie George, partnered with Englishman Max Rushby the young Scot ran out winner just a few weeks after his fine seventh place in the Junior Worlds Road race in Harrogate and a season which saw him fifth in the junior Paris-Roubaix. 

We wouldn’t be doing our job if we didn’t ‘have a word.’

We caught up with him at home in Abernyte, Tayside enjoying a three day rest before heading back south to Manchester and the hard plank seats, chains and oars on the BC galley en route the European u23 track champs in Anadia, Portugal on July 7th 2020. 

u23 Gent Six Day
Alfie George (r) and Max Rushby celebrate overall victory in the Gent u23 Six Day. Photo©facepeeters

Nice job at the Kuipke, Alfie, but before we talk about Gent, what’s the media reaction been like to your Worlds top 10 result?

“There’s not been a great deal of interest from the printed media but on social media I’ve had a great reaction, pieces like the one you guys at VeloVeritas did about me have had a great response and there’s been a lot of interest and folks congratulating me.”

What have you been up to between The Worlds and Gent?

“I had two weeks off after The Worlds, relaxed and ate what I liked but then got back down to training – and eating properly.

“We’ve been doing a lot of gym work, you need the strength for the start on big gears in the team pursuit – we’re looking at having to achieve 3:55 pace for the u23 Euros next year

“They’re a big goal for us.”

What about the atmosphere in the Kuipke?

“It’s just amazing!

“I’ve been there twice before as a spectator, in 2016 and 2017 but to be on the other side of the fence and to walk through the crowds in your race gear in the track centre to get to your bike and get up on the track was really special.”

Alfie George at the u23 Gent Six Day. Photo©facepeeters

And you’re on restricted gears?

“Yes, 52 x 16 or 49 x 15 but in road races we can ride 52 x 14 so the first couple of nights we just couldn’t pedal fast enough!

“But after a couple of nights we found our legs and rode into it.”

What’s the format, is it a chase every night?

“No, the first two nights were points races and a time trial; the third and fourth nights were a madison and time trial then longer chases on the last two nights – that was where we came into our own.”

I remember watching the amateur chases back in the 70’s and 80’s and they were crazy dangerous.

“The standard was surprisingly good, you’re always going to get the odd ‘moment’ in a madison but I thought the skill level was pretty high.”

u23 Gent Six Day
Alfie George and Max Rushby make a great pairing. Photo©facepeeters

Who were the guys to beat?

“The German team with Tim Teutenberg [son of still-racing and winning professional Lars, ed] were strong, he’s the European elimination champion; the Dutch guys too were strong.

“The top teams all knew when to make the moves and were good bike riders.

“It all came down to the last madison where our endurance came through; we only took the lead on the second last night so it wasn’t a foregone conclusion we had it won.”

Is Max the ‘stayer’ and you’re the sprinter?

“Not really, Max is really quick, I rode the National Elite Madison with him where we finished third to Adam Britton and Fred Wright; we both have pretty similar abilities.

“He was also in the team when we won the Euro junior team pursuit this year with Leo Hayter and Sam Watson.”

Did you have a mechanic with you?

“No, we had our coach with us but had to handle the mechanical side of things ourselves.”

u23 Gent Six Day
Alfie George has his sights set on riding the Elite Gent Six Day. Photo©facepeeters

Were the spoils of victory worthwhile?

“Definitely; the prize money was excellent, we’ll be eating well for the next month!

“Then there was the nice jersey and champagne…”

Could you see yourself as a Six Day man – and who do you admire?

“I’d love to ride the Elite Six Day one day, the atmosphere with the huge crowd is amazing.

“Iljo Keisse is a guy you have to admire but I remember being impressed watching Kenny De Ketele and Moreno De Pauw when they won in Gent in 2017.

“We were chatting to Iljo and Cav at the hotel, they were very good with us and gave us good advice.”

Next up? 

“I’m off to Girona at the start of December to get the road miles in then we’ll back in the gym and on the track to prepare for the British Track Championships at the end of January where I’ll be riding scratch and points.

“After the Nationals I’ll be back on the road to get a solid base then it’ll be more track training for the Euro Team Pursuit in July, next year.

“We’ve been switching round positions, I’ve been in man one position – but that could change.

“With the road work and the team pursuit training I think it’s going to make me a well-rounded rider.”

We think you’ve achieved that already, young Mr. George. We’ll be certainly be keeping our eye on the British Nationals results come the end of January.

Ed Hood
Ed's been involved in cycling for over 45 years. In that time he's been a successful time triallist, team manager, and sponsor of several teams and clubs. He's also a respected and successful coach, and during the winter months can often be found working in the cabins at the Six Days. Ed remains a massive fan of the sport and couples his extensive contacts with an inexhaustable enthusiasm for the minutiae and the history of our sport.

Related Articles

Gent Six Day 2010 – Third Night, Iljo Keeps the Lead but Frays a Little

I just received an email from Rapha; "The New Tweed Softshell and City Riding Collection" - that's exactly what I need, tweed. Set a new trend at the Kuipke. We're here for the Gent Six Day 2010.

Michael Nicholson – Out Hard and Suffering Back

Michael Nicholson's (Dooleys) first '50' was a 1:51 and it took him to the Scottish title on a wind swept Saturday night along the banks of the Cromarty Firth. We thought we'd better have a word with the man.

Douglas Dewey – Moving Up to U.C.Nantes Atlantique

The last time VeloVeritas spoke to Douglas Dewey was at the British National Time Trial Championships in Scotland back in June where he finished fourth. But it wasn’t all places of honour for the Surrey man; there were six good wins in France, too. And some UK wins as well – but ‘they don’t count.’ The six wins obviously counted with French Division One team, Union Cycliste Nantes Atlantique, his équipe for season 2014.

Lotto Zesdaagse van Hasselt 2007 – Day 1

Lotto Zesdaagse van Hasselt 2007. Kris picked me up at Dusseldorf Weeze airport at tea time yesterday (Wednesday), it's actually only about two kilometres from Holland so it wasn't long before we found a frites stand. Hasselt is in the Limburg region of Belgium, Flemish speaking and with a population of about 70,000. The local tourist office brochure tries hard to talk the town up but there's not much to say - a nice-enough place though.

Copenhagen Six Day 2013 – Day One

The cannon blasts, I push Guy off, wriggle my fat backside so as Bremen winner, Marcel Kalz doesn’t run me over and jog off the track. Those ‘Cara Mia’ bongos blast from the PA and make me smile; the lap board says ‘250’ and already the Schwalbes and Contis are roaring as the riders who started off the back straight fence hurtle into the home straight – welcome to the Copenhagen Six Day 2013.

Grenoble Six Day 2009 – Day Three; Sprinters

Them sprinters are big guys-I passed them in the tunnel tonight, they looked cool, cocky, stylish. The public here love the sprinters; at intro time, they actually get their big build up from Daniel Mangeas after the Six Day riders. Bauge did a standstill for more than half-an-hour, in Gent there would be bricks getting lobbed at him, but in Grenoble-they love it.

At Random

Dean Woods – Part 1; The Aussie World Champion and Olympic Gold Medallist whilst still a Junior!

When we asked Aussie pursuit star of the 1980’s and 90’s, Dean Woods if we had his palmarès correct; he got back to us with his own list. It rather speaks for itself. Without further ado let’s hear what one of the finest pursuit riders of his generation had to say to VeloVeritas, recently ...

Gordon Arms Hilly Time Trial 2014 Goes to Oliphant

Raleigh professional Evan Oliphant handled the age old dilemma of the pro racing against amateurs – if they don’t win they’re criticised, but if they do then it’s ‘expected’ – by taking the best option and winning the Gala CC’s Gordon Arms Hilly Time Trial over 20.5 cold and cloudy Borders miles in 50:06; some ways short of Mark Atkinson’s (Velo Ecosse) 1999 course record of 48:47 but enough to give him the result by 41 seconds over Carl Donaldson (GS Metro).

Super 6 – Round 3, The Sam Robinson Memorial Road Race 2009

The Trossachs in spring, a nice cup of coffee in Aberfoyle, the weather forecast is good, the Sam Robinson Memorial Road Race is always a good race to watch and...

Neah Evans – Two Medals from the Commonwealth Games

Continuing with our series of interviews with Scotland’s Commonwealth Games cycling medallists, VeloVeritas chats to Neah Evans who returned from the Gold Coast with two medals from the points and scratch races, despite illness prior to The Games. Although she prepared specifically for the track events she also rode the individual road time trial and road race. Despite this she brought home two top 10 finishes.

Matt Brammeier – Three Times Irish Road Champion

It’s ‘all change’ again for Omega Pharma Quick Step’s thrice Irish Elite Road Race champion, Matt Brammeier. He’s a man who shapes his destiny – abandoning British Cycling’s Academy to walk his own path in Belgium. Despite being part of the QuickStep team which dominated one day racing this season, it hasn’t been a great year for Brammeier. He’s hoping for better things with Champion – he took time to speak to VeloVeritas soon after the deal had been done.

Dougie Young – Off to Belgium with Realistic Targets

Here at VeloVeritas we're always banging on about riders getting themselves across the North sea to Flanders, so when one actually does, such as Dougie Young, it's only right that we should pay a bit of attention.