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Havik and Stroetinga surprise themselves in defence of Six Day Berlin title

31 January 2018

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Not even Wim Stroetinga and Yoeri Havik themselves had expected to be Six Day Berlin champions for the second year in succession.

But after completing the double and still having a little bit of energy in the tank, these Flying Dutchmen feel they’ve certainly proved last year was no flash-in-the-pan success.

Locked together with Belgians Kenny de Ketele and Moreno de Pauw through the week’s entirety, it was only fitting that the contest came down to the final sprint of the closing race.

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Yet that only tells part of the story for Stroetinga and Havik, forced to come from behind having trailed following the penultimate day, confident they could regain top spot.

The optimism hadn’t always been there however, reducing the expectations that many had raised in the build-up.

“Before the week I didn’t expect this, it’s very hard because you are the winners from last year and everyone knows that,” said Havik.

“But across the week we felt how good our shape and form was, that’s something that can be elusive, you never know when you’re going to have it.

“It’s a great feeling. In Rotterdam, the Belgians were much better but during the week we started to believe in being able to win.

“It’s a really good feeling to be able to do it again and to prove it was not a lucky shot last year – every year you gain more experience and it feels so good when a plan comes together.”

All the results from Six Day Berlin are available here

To say the pair didn’t always have things their own way would undersell the impact de Ketele and de Pauw had on the race.

The Belgians were winners in Germany in 2016 – their first as a pair – leading after three of the first five days after they too had got their tactics spot on.

But Havik and Stroetinga could hardly have asked for a better final day, constantly within striking distance of their rivals to eke out a narrow lead ahead of the 60-minute final Madison chase.

From there the tenseness of previous outings was no more as they went full throttle, taking laps at will before emphatically closing out the win in the final sprints, coasting over the line together to toast victory.

“You always feel it, we felt good but you never know who is going to attack and how many times in that Madison,” Stroetinga added.

“But in the end we could feel it in the legs so we knew everyone else would. When you’re in the lead, you get that something extra.

“The Belgians never give up, we noticed it all week so we stayed close to them all the time – but in the end, luckily, we got them.

“The first days we were really going for it and Sunday we did a little bit less so we could save ourselves up for the last two days, I think that was our secret.”

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