The buzz off iljo’s rollers fills my ears as I write this; despite the best efforts of the UCI, he’s still here at the Rotterdam Six Day 2011 and he’s 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.
It’s Saturday 17:20 and night three isn’t far away; this is me just getting round to my VeloVeritas duties.
I woke at 09:00 – we got to sleep at 03:00 – I’d hoped to repose until 10:30 but someone fired up a generator what seemed like 6″ from my ear and there was nothing else to do but get up.
Once I’m showered I’m fine, but the time between rolling from the death pod and the life-giving jets hitting my skin is horrible; this morning, my eyes didn’t want to open.
Franco is still sick and had to be neutralised, again.
His partner Terpstra doesn’t mind too much, he rides the individual events and then sits on his rollers watching the chases on the big screens – not a bad gig.
He won a couple of races last night, including a derny.
It was ‘farewell Koors Moerenhout’ night and apart from the laps of honour and speeches there was an omnium for riders of his era.
There were some tasty guys in attendance; Michael Boogerd, Servais Knaven, Maarten den Bakker, Max van Heeswijk and Steven de Jongh, to name a few.
On the subject of de Jongh, I was pulled in as official photographer for his signing with Ken Ilegems’ Wolf Oil amateur team.
Ken was head mechanic at Sky in 2010 but at the end of the season he was emptied out, along with all the other Belgians.
Apparently they were recruited by Scott Sunderland and any reminders of his brief tenure had to be purged.
Steven de Jongh was a QuickStep man latterly, enough said really, but if you want confirmation of his quality, he won Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne, twice. Respect!
It’s a coup getting a rider of that quality on board; there’s no way he’d race if he didn’t think he could be competitive.
On the subject of Kuurne, I had a good blether with 2010 winner, Bobby Traksel – even as far out as the Kwaremont, he looked the winner.
He was almost a victim of the Pegasus debacle but Landbou jumped in and grabbed him – he reckons that eight of the riders have found new homes but 17 still languish on the Sea of Uncertainty.
In addition to the 17 riders, there are 25 staff still trying to find a job.
This is a good six, the crowds are big and enthusiastic, the organisation is efficient without being overwhelming and the sounds are good.
Much as I love Grenoble, the music down there is dire; Gent is good but I think Rotterdam tops it; especially when the disco ball is spinning, the 70’s tunes thump and the lasers are scanning.
It could be Jackie O’s on Kirkcaldy Promenade in the early 80’s – without the blood, of course.
That’s 19:13 and the girls are racing to – ‘Ladies Night,’ cool, huh?
The other night it was Shania Twain on the PA, as the pistol fired for the girls’ race the Canadian songstress purred; ‘Let’s go girls!‘ – maybe you have to be here?