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Stroetinga and Ghys take late lead at Six Day Berlin

29 January 2019

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Defending champion Wim Stroetinga is just one day away from defending his Six Day Berlin crown after he and Robbe Ghys moved atop the standings after day five in the Velodrom.

Dutchman Stroetinga lifted the trackboard trophy with compatriot Yoeri Havik 12 months ago but has found a more-than-able partner in Belgian Ghys.

The European dream team now sit as the only pair on zero laps, with victory in the night-opening Velodrom paving the way for a stirring performance on the penultimate evening.

Four teams sit behind them on one lap, with three of those – including home favourites and world champions Roger Kluge and Theo Reinhardt – separated by just three points.

It’s all set up, therefore, for a classic night in the German city – with everything to ride for heading into what is set to be a dramatic and high-action Madison chase.

Day five began in style for Stroetinga and Ghys, with the former bagging a far-from-unlucky 13th win at Six Day Berlin with success in the 45-minute Madison.

They had hoped for another victorious feeling in the team elimination but instead it was Poland’s Wojciech Pszczolarski and Daniel Staniszewski left celebrating, maintaining their position as one of the favourites for the title.

The crowd-pleasing derny was next on the agenda, with the final two days of action seeing the race increase to 40 laps with both teams’ riders taking part in half the race each.

Nick Stopler and Maikel Ziljaard were the ones to triumph in the B final, with the latter bagging his first win of Six Day Berlin.

And it wasn’t long until the home fans had plenty to celebrate in the Velodrom, Kluge and Reinhardt slinging their way to 500m Madison TT success in a stunning time of 26.321 seconds, helping them complete the day with four podiums from four races.

But the hand-slinging was far from done there with Andreas Muller and Andreas Graf bringing the night home in style, a 30-minute chase seeing the Austrian pair triumph in their lung-busting bid for the line.

“We saw the other guys trying, but I had good legs, so we wanted to try and it was enough,” said Graf.

While Muller added: “I feel like I’m 20 years old, with such a strong partner I just have to celebrate – he’s doing all the work.”

Meanwhile the sprinters continued at full throttle in the Velodrom, with none going quicker than Shane Perkins in the 250m Flying TT as he bagged his first win of the week.

But he didn’t have long to wait until his second, triumphing in the sprint final to end the domination previously held by Denis Dmitriev and Max Levy, winners across the previous four days.

Dmitriev was not to be denied, however, ending the day with victory in the keirin for the first time at Six Day Berlin 2019.

“It was a really nice race for me, that keirin was perfect and I could attack at the right moment. What I have, I gave it today on the track – I’m finished,” he said.

“Today was a bit hard, I felt some pain in the flying lap but after a bit more racing I felt better.”

The men’s elite and sprint action is now set for a grandstand finish, with plenty of thrills, spills and drama still to come on the boards of Berlin.

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