ROTTERDAM (VN) — Iljo Keisse and Niki Terpstra are the new leaders in the Rotterdam Six after the third night. The Omega Pharma-Quick Step duo had their best day so far, winning the elimination race and the long Madison, where Keisse outsprinted the competition on both occasions by millimeters.
“This is good,” Keisse said, “but it’s still a long way to go. [Peter] Schep and [Wim] Stroetinga picked up a lot of points. No, we have only just begun.”
Midway into the Rotterdam Six there are six pairs still in the running for the overall crown. Defending champions Peter Schep and Wim Stroetinga, Amsterdam Six winners Pim Ligthart and Michael Mørkøv, and Yoeri Havik and Nick Støpler are in the same lap as Keisse and Terpstra. The difference in points is small, which promises another thrilling race day on Sunday.
Stöpler and Havik held the overall lead going into day three, but the pair didn’t have its best day. Whenever Stöpler and Havik attacked in the long Madison, they immediately had Keisse and Terpstra in their wheel. An all-or-nothing attempt in the final minute stranded. The young pair lost its lap advantage in the overall, but are by no means beaten for the overall win.
“We keep missing out on a win,” Stöpler said, “but we did grab points today. It is not over.”
Ligthart and Mørkøv are getting better every day.
“The first day was all about getting used to the track again, but I feel better every day. Today was a hard Madison race, but we made up for the lost lap and took a lot of points.”
Day four, an afternoon affair, promises to be very exciting.
“You are in a rhythm which changes if you have to ride a matinée, but Michael and I rode at 11:00 a.m. every day so far so we’ll be ready to defend our title chances.”
Michel Kreder, who crashed heavily earlier in the week, left the race. He is ill and will take time to rest. His brother Raymond, both riders of Garmin-Sharp, continues and only takes part in the individual events.
Chris Hoy took the lead in the sprint tournament. The six-time Olympic champion won the match sprint, the 200-meter time trial and the team sprint on Saturday.