ROTTERDAM (VN) — Wim Stroetinga and Peter Schep are back on top of the leaderboard after five nights of racing in the Ahoy Arena at the Rotterdam Six.
In one mighty final Madison sprint, Stroetinga beat Iljo Keisse in a direct battle to lock in the pair’s lead with one night remaining.
“It was very close, but it was enough. Nobody watches us, everyone speaks of Keisse and Terpstra and Havik and Stöpler, but I think that’s good. Let us go unnoticed, win those sprints, take the laps and defend our title,” Stroetinga said.
For Kenny de Ketele and Gijs van Hoecke, the penultimate night was all about making up for lost ground.
“The first few days were tough. I hadn’t done any specific track training,” Van Hoecke, the younger of the two Belgians said. “But yesterday and today we managed to take a lot of points. We can’t win this race on points anymore, though, because the gap to the others is too big, but we aim to take a lap tomorrow. We make progression every day, so everything is still possible.”
Havik and Stöpler dropped to second place but are only six points behind the leaders. Omega Pharma-Quick Step’s Iljo Keisse and Niki Terpstra are six points further down in the overall.
Michael Mørkov and Pim Ligthart are still within the same lap as well.
“We still haven’t won a Madison race,” said Mørkøv. “This is preparation for the road season though, so the first two days were about getting used to the track. The same goes for Pim.”
Last October, the pair won the Amsterdam Six with a coup in the final 20 laps of the final race.
“We hope we can do that again,” said Mørkøv. “For us it’s about taking that lap on the competition. We are not the strongest sprinters so if we want to win, taking a lap is our only chance.”
Fun for Hoy
The classification of the sprint tournament is just as tight as the six-day contest. Sir Chris Hoy still leads, but the gap to Jason Kenny is a mere three points.
“There is no pressure, though,” said Hoy. “But still, I want to win. People pay to see you race, so I give my best. I even go full speed in the time trial.”
Just like Grégory Baugé, Hoy will not take part in the world Championships next month in Minsk, Belarus.
“For Jason Kenny and Teun Mulder this is important practice for Minsk, but I won’t ride there,” he said. “I haven’t been on the track much since the Olympics.”
Hoy, a six-time Olympic champion and the most succesful British Olympian in history, says he still enjoys the sport.
“I still like doing training sessions and keep enjoying that feeling after a good and hard training,” he said. “I love being with the British team. It won’t take long anymore before I quit, so I am enjoying it while it lasts.”