De Ketele and De Pauw take the plaudits on day two of Six Day London as Brit Rotherham loses sprint final
Former world madison champion Kenny De Ketele and compatriot Moreno De Pauw dominated proceedings at the Lee Valley VeloPark in front of another boisterous British crowd on the second day of Six Day London.
The pair won the opening 20km madison, before De Ketele stormed to another win in his derny heat after an early break.
Iljo Keisse – a Six Day winner in Grenoble, Ghent, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Zurich and Stuttgart – had shown why he is one of the best in the world with a win in the other derny heat, and looked to punish the fellow pace-setting Belgians after they crashed out of the team elimination race early on.
Keisse and Gijs Van Hoecke finished third in that race, as Denmark’s Alex Rasmussen ousted the British duo of Chris Latham and Ollie Wood on the very final lap.
But De Ketele and De Pauw came storming back at the end of the evening, coming second in the 500m madison time trial before conquering the final chase, gaining a lap on most of the field in the process.
“It’s not over yet, we still have four days to go,” said De Pauw.
“The first day is always a bit searching.
“There are some good riders who will get better as the week goes on. We’ll have to defend first place, we’ll defend everything, you’ll see and hopefully we’ll end up on top.”
De Ketele added: “I think we should be thinking about our fellow countrymen Iljo Keisse and Gijs Van Hoecke.
“They’re really going well and I think they are one of the teams that will get better. Other teams like the Spanish are really strong, as well as Yoeri Havik and Niki Terpstra.
“It’s far from over yet. As leaders you always have to do extra work and you’ll always get attacked so it’s not easy.”
Keisse and Van Hoecke sit second overall, 14 points off the pace, while Denmark’s Lasse-Norman Hansen and Pim Ligthart are third.
Elsewhere there were also fireworks in the sprinters competition as Britain’s Matthew Rotherham was ousted out of top spot overall by seasoned campaigner Denis Dmitriev.
First, Rotherham claimed the 200m flying time trial with a time of 10.400 seconds, pipping Russian powerhouse Dmitriev, who had set the early pace.
And Rotherham made it two wins from two as he won his sprint semi-final, while Dmitriev joined him in the final.
Germany’s Eric Balzer held off compatriot Sascha Hübner in a hugely entertaining race to take third, before the in-form Rotherham again edged out rival Dmitriev with the pair touching shoulders almost the entire race.
But ‘The Legs’ seemed to be spent in the keirin, as he exited in the heats and had to watch as Dmitriev showed his class to win and take the overall classification lead.
Rotherham said: “Shooting out in the keirin was disappointing. I had to push my wind for too long and blew myself to pieces.
“Obviously I’ve got the speed to beat these guys but sometimes the tactics let you down. I’m going to go to sleep tonight, think about the races and come back mentally stronger.
“I’ll feel a lot more safe and a lot more secure tomorrow and hopefully help myself to victory.”
Meanwhile it was a day to remember in the Under-23 Talent Cup for the British duo of Angus Claxton and Tristan Robbins.
The pair stole a lap midway through their 40km Madison race at the beginning of the evening, to top the standings at the end of their second day of competition.
And Robbins admits the pair could hardly believe their luck when the opportunity to strike presented itself.
“It panned out really well for us because getting the lap was the most important thing in the race,” he said.
“While we weren’t going to be that competitive in the sprints as our form isn’t great, in the madison the lap was all that mattered.
Claxton added: “I don’t think we are the strongest team out there but the bunch slowed down and I took a gamble to take a lap and it paid off in the end. I was quite surprised but it was a great experience.
“The atmosphere is insane here and the crowd really spur you on and you dig deeper. Hopefully we can do well and try and win in the new few days.”
Six Day London is at Lee Valley VeloPark between 18-23 Oct – tickets now on sale at www.sixday.com. Come and see the world’s best track cyclists in action and be part of an electric party atmosphere at London’s Olympic Velodrome.