Ed parachuted in to the Rotterdam Six Day 2020 on Tuesday afternoon to help Kris break camp and load the camper in anticipation of driving up to Bremen and the Six Day which started there on Thursday evening. When you wander up the tunnel stairs and into the track centre at Rotterdam with the u23’s hurtling round, the lights blazing and the PA pumping it’s still damn cool...
Dutch 15 times former motor paced world champion Bruno Walrave is the man with the plan - and the keys; but he's, 'in a meeting... Bruno is pushing 80 years-of-age but let’s just say that; “age hasn’t mellowed him.” Eventually the door opens and we're in business – handshakes, the key, creds and unload the mobile home.
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 the Bremen Six Day.
Peter Schep / Wim 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 Peter Schep and the younger, smaller, more erratic but rapid Stroetinga.
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 at the Rotterdam Six Day — the tall, slim, grey haired man who chases the riders up to their events here at the is Bruno Walrave.
It's Day four at the Rotterdam Six Day 2012, and like it says on the report cards; 'could do better!' We're referring of course to 'our Alex's' time keeping - he missed the rolling presentation on Sunday. It's not a huge deal because at the time he had no partner, poor Stöpler having crashed out.
The 'Devil' had just started in Day three of the Rotterdam Six Day 2012 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 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.
The fall (and rise?) of the German Sixes... 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.
Rotterdam Six Day 2011 - 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.
At the Rotterdam Six Day 2011 and I'm 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.
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.
It was 'musical riders' on Saturday night at the Rotterdam Six Day 2011: 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.
Here at the Rotterdam Six Day 2011 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.
Rotterdam Six Day 2011 and 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?'
"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...
‘Sorry, I fell asleep, I need my afternoon nap after one of Flavio’s training sessions – a 90 minute chain gang then six laps of a circuit with a steep ‘kicker’ in it.’ That was Hamish Strachan explaining to us why he’d missed our call – good to hear that the young man is back in the groove after a difficult start to his year.
It was 2019 when we last spoke to Iain Macleod - he was with Aberdeen Wheelers then but is now with Kelpie Racing - he’d just won the SC 50 mile championships and the man is making the headlines again; a couple of weeks ago he took the Scottish Cycling Olympic Time Trial title and before that recorded the fastest 100 mile time trial ever ridden on Scottish roads.
It was ironic that Chris Anker Sørensen’s life should end doing what he had become known for after his career as a professional cyclist was over – preparing meticulously for his role as a TV race commentator, out riding the parcours of Sunday’s World Individual Time Trial Championship in Flanders.
We liked our jaunt to the Tour of the Campsies last year and feel at home among the rolling countryside and green hills there so we headed west, first of all paying our respects to the Robert Millar mural at the foot of the Crow Road; when you watch Roglič take the Lagos di Covadonga stage in the Vuelta it’s difficult to imagine the wee fella from Glasgow winning that stage – but win it he did.
We had a look around Hawick as the 2021 Tour of Britain race carnival hit town, we caught up with friends then headed out on the course, hiding from the wind on Wanside Rig to see the peloton as it headed towards Gifford...
With victories already this season in various time trial distances ranging from 25 to 100 miles (with a two mile hill climb win too), Iain Macleod (Kelpie Racing) added the Scottish Cycling Olympic Time Trial 2021 title to his growing palmarès.
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