ROTTERDAM (VN) — Iljo Keisse and Niki Terpstra won the Rotterdam Six on Tuesday. In a thrilling final in a full Ahoy Arena the Omega Pharma-Quick Step pair took the all-important lap with only 18 laps to go in the last Madison race. Defending champions Peter Schep and Wim Stroetinga sprinted to second place before Yoeri Havik and Nick Stöpler.
Sir Chris Hoy won the Sprint Masters Tournament.
“To have your name on that list with all those big names, feels great,” Terpstra said.
The 28-year old Dutch road race champion tweeted a picture of the honor roll with all previous winners at the beginning of the week.
“I don’t ride these six days for nothing, I want to win them, want to have my name on that list,” he said. “I had a great season in 2012 with the Dutch title, Dwars door Vlaanderen and gold at the world championship team time trial in Valkenburg. This is a good start for another great season.”
Five pairs started the final day with a chance to win the overall classification of the 31st edition of the Rotterdam Six. Kenny de Ketele and Gijs van Hoecke won the opening event, a tame Madison race where each of the favorites won an intermediate sprint and stayed in the same lap. The Belgian world Madison champions completely made up for their overnight points deficit in the opening event and the leaderboard showed a seven-point difference between the numbers one and five after the night’s opener.
It was all going to be decided in the final race of the week, a Madison of 45 minutes plus 50 laps.
Each the favorites took another lap during the final race. The pace was very high in an excited Ahoy Arena. Just when Terpstra joined the bunch again after taking a lap, he swung his mate Iljo Keisse into the track and the Belgian rider immediately attacked again. Third in points and no match for fast sprinters like Stroetinga and Havik, they had no other option but lapping the field to secure the overall win.
At 50 laps from the finish the situation was as it was before the start. Only De Ketele and van Hoecke missed out, but the Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise riders bridged the gap. The first intermediate sprint was for Mørkøv with Havik in second place. An all-or-nothing attempt by Keisse and Terpstra to lap the field failed when defending champion Schep took command of the bunch.
The second sprint was for Mørkøv as well, but the third went to Yoeri Havik, bringing Havik and Stöpler within two points from leaders Stroetinga and Schep. That was the moment Keisse had been waiting for. With 18 laps to go he attacked and in 10 laps he and Niki Terpstra were round the track. No others could come through with a lap in the remaining time and Keisse celebrated the pair’s win in the 31st Rotterdam Six with a wheelie.
“Everybody was beyond tired because of the intermediate sprints. It’s been very close all week with four other pairs in the running for the title. Niki and I discussed beforehand to try in the final laps to go round,” said Keisse. “It was great for us and for the public that we succeeded.”
It’s Keisse third win this indoor season after Grenoble, France, and his native Ghent, and his 17th in total. For Terpstra, it’s his second six days victory after winning Amsterdam in 2011.
Defending champions Schep and Stroetinga won the sprint for second place before Havik and Stöpler.
“We were competing for the win all week,” the 22-year old Stöpler said. “In the end we were beaten because they were better; a well-deserved win.”
Sir Hoy takes sprint crown
Sir Chris Hoy won the Sprint Masters Tournament. The six-time Olympic champion saw his biggest rival, compatriot Jason Kenny, come very close by winning the individual sprint on the final night, but the Scotsman kept a one-point lead. Teun Mulder finished in third place and reigning world champion Grégory Baugé came in fourth and last place.