Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Rotterdam Six Day 2011 – Day One, Stam and Van Bon Take Early Lead

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It’s 2011, it’s the Rotterdam Six Day 2011 and it wouldn’t be a Six without 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.

Rotterdam Six Day 2011
Iljo with his QuickStep DS Wilfried Peeters.

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 ?’

‘Oh no!’ comes the reply from Aigle.

Like Frank Boelé says; ‘I get bitten by the cat and the dog!’

It’s a mess.

Particularly when you hear that the best the UCi can come up with is to ‘ignore’ the Belgian.

Rotterdam Six Day 2011
Iljo attacks in the Points race. After all the fuss, his name is still on the finishing sheets.

Our other drama was Franco’s illness; it’s 16:55 on Friday (day two) as I write this and the big man is on the massage table.

Rotterdam Six Day 2011
Whilst the riders get massaged.

He’s still not right after last night’s sickness and naturalisation but doesn’t like to quit; in 100 starts he’s only been DNS in a couple of races, usually because of a crash.

He’ll be able to get through things like points, scratch and time trials but it’s the chases that find you out.

There’s no hiding place; I was surprised by how quick the first chase was, last night.

Rotterdam Six Day 2011
Michael warms down while Franco tries to remain cheery.
It’s cramped for the mechanics.

There are several guys carrying a few kilos more than when I saw them at Gent – top pros or not, they’re human and Xmas is Xmas.

Rotterdam Six Day 2011
Last time we had a good chat with Kenny Van Hummel was at the Tour de France.

I’ve looked after Jens Erik Madsen at more than a few sixes now and last night was the first time I’ve seen his chest continue to heave like that after a madison – it was no ‘potato chase.’

Rotterdam Six Day 2011
Jens Erik and Michael Morkov meet their sponsors.

There’s Scottish interest at the race – Charline Joiner is riding the ladies’ Six Day.

Rotterdam Six Day 2011
Charline is gaining experience here.

I don’t think there’s any madison racing, it’s more of an omnium format.

Last night was a scratch – where she finished in the second half of the bunch but rattled off not a bad flying lap.

I’ll need to go and say ‘hello’ to her.

Rotterdam Six Day 2011
Jos Pronk finished Night One on the same lap as the leaders.
Rotterdam Six Day 2011
Niki’s ‘old’ Colnago.
Rotterdam Six Day 2011
Niki’s ‘new’ Merckx, just awaiting stickers.
Rotterdam Six Day 2011
Bobby Traksel can relax, a contract in his pocket following the Pegasus nonsense.
Rotterdam Six Day 2011
Rene Pijnen was given the honour of starting the Six Day.
Rotterdam Six Day 2011
Robert Bartko.

The sprint tournament has a good field with world sprint champion Gregory Bauge, world kilometre champion Teun Mulder, former European U23 sprint champion Michael D’Almedia, 2008 Dutch keirin champion Yondi Schmidt, former Pan Am sprint and multiple US champion Giddeon Massie and his compatriot, Dean Tracey, who I know nothing about.

Rotterdam Six Day 2011
Have a look at Peter Schep’s bars.
Danny Stam.
Rotterdam Six Day 2011
Michael tails the derny.

The music is good, Motown, Disco, 60’s, 70’s, hi-energy, the tunes of the day from the likes of the Black Eyed Peas and Lady Gaga plus a bit of ‘oom-pah’ – but it’s liveable with; it is Holland, after all.

The programme is sharp with few gaps, former derny driver, Bruno Walr