Saturday morning early, in the cabin at the Rotterdam Six Day 2022, the cleaning ladies liked my choice of music and were giving me a little dance around their mops…
I was going to go out and get some beers in but they said they had the rest of the stadium to clean…
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We’ll start with two Harrie Lavreysen stories:
Usually, the six sprinters involved in the sprint tournament just get up and get on with it; but tonight I noticed that Harrie was highly focused before the time trial.
Then his mechanic had to push him half way round the track so he could get on top of what was one big gear.
Remember I said the lap record was 9.852 seconds?
Not anymore, it’s now 9.733 seconds, courtesy Harrie.
He took his lap of honour on a contraption which had the sponsor’s unfortunately named – ‘Bastard’ – outdoor cooking device in the sidecar.
‘And the gearing?’ I asked the mechanic – 120 inches…
Harrie story number two:
The little guy who organises pushing off in the Derny and Keirin has recognised me as a ‘soft touch’ so I’m constantly trotting round to the start to do the business.
On major benefit of this is that you come into close proximity of the podium girls and their perfume – but I digress.
I was holding up big German sprinter, Robin Wagner next to the fence when he told me he’d be fine holding the rail and I should go down and look after even bigger Jeffrey Hoogland in position two – no one had come forward to hold him.
There I am, holding up man mountain Hoogland when I feel someone grab me hard round the waist, my immediate thought is; ‘what have I done wrong?’
But it’s big Harrie, they’ve given him an amateur holder up who’s almost dropped him so Harrie has grabbed me for support.
There I am holding up Big Jeffrey with Big Harrie hanging round my waist – I was glad when that gun fired to start the race.
I got down to the track early tonight to see how the GB boys, Joshua Giddings and Jack Brough were faring in the frenzy that is a u23 madison.
‘Well,’ was the answer and they looked on their way to winning the night until they were brought down in the closing laps.
The first aid guy was on hand and a spectator had handed them a glass of water each, apart from being shaken up they didn’t too worse for wear; we’ll see this evening [Saturday] when the u23 race concludes
‘Danish Dynamite’ [I always thought it was a Swedish chap who invented the stuff but let’s not split hairs] Matias Malmberg & Marc Hester may be having a bit of a torrid time in the chases but are riding very well in the Flying Lap which they won again tonight.
There was only one chase tonight, 50 minutes plus 10 laps, the Belgian De Vylder/Hesters duo rode hard to defend yellow.
But the Italo/Dutch duo of Viviani/Hoppezak would end the night as leaders.
However, Niki & Yoeri look ominously strong.
Meantimes, our three intrepid ‘squirrels’ continue to fight the good fight for not much recognition – but then they’re not Dutch…
I get to say that I watched The Netherlands go out of the World Cup with Niki Terpstra – one of the Belgian soigneur chaps was watching the penalty shootout on his iPhone.
The start of the last race was delayed as a cluster of riders formed round the little screen – if only the Dutch hadn’t missed those first two penalties.
Still, the Belgians seemed happy with the result…