Sensational Stroetinga and Havik romp to back-to-back Six Day Berlin titles
30 January 2018
A staggering final Madison chase from Wim Stroetinga and Yoeri Havik emphatically secured a second successive Six Day Berlin after a breathless final day in Germany.
The Dutch defending champions came into the final day second behind Kenny de Ketele and Moreno de Pauw, in a battle royale between the two previous victors.
But with one final push Stroetinga and Havik showed their undeniable class to deliver a faultless finale, culminating in a quite magnificent 60-minute chase in which they showed the energy befitting a first outing of the week.
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“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.”
While Stroetinga added: “You always feel it, we felt good but you never know who is going to attack and how many times in that Madison.
“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.”
Leading after two of the five days thus far, the Dutch duo knew they had to come out firing on the final day and certainly did so, finishing second in the night’s opening Madison.
But, as they had all week, the Belgians didn’t give an inch to finish just one place back – a sign if ever there was one about what was to come.
The two pairs bowed out early in the team elimination but finished within striking distance of each other in the scratch race, with barely a point to separate the teams who had led the competition since day one.
Indeed, it was Havik and Stroetinga who boasted the advantage after the first and fourth days, but de Ketele – bidding for a third win – and de Ketele never went away.
That was proven in the final chase as they joined each other in taking a lap after Roger Kluge and Theo Reinhardt – who finished third – did likewise before them.
Never letting the other out of eyesight, it was the champions who looked like they struck the first knockout blow when taking a lap alongside Felix English and Mark Downey.
As expected de Ketele and de Pauw responded in kind, taking their own lap, while both went for glory to move two laps clear of the field.
From there it was down to whoever sprinted better, a challenge Stroetinga and Havik took in their stride, winning the closing sprints and fittingly crossing the line first to toast their glory.
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Meanwhile, Max Levy made it a magnificent seven of Six Day Berlin titles but few will have been quite so competitive as this one.
Defending champion despite breaking his collarbone last year, Levy had German compatriot Stefan Boetticher to contend with through the entire six days, with the lead changing hands with regularity.
But a stellar day six saw Levy do what he does best and win, first in the sprint time trials and finals and then the keirin.
The day also saw the showman himself, Nate Koch, sign off from Six Day duties – on the track at least – though he was unable to follow up on day five’s keirin success.
Levy said: “It was a great week, I had loads of fun which was the most important thing and sometimes you have to wait until day six until everything turns your way.
“I remember 20 years ago, standing in the crowd at 1.20m tall and now I have seven wins here, it’s amazing.
“Before a Six Day, you never know what to expect, last year I was racing with a broken collarbone and won, and the fans gave me a huge push from there.
“They know my story, then I became European champion here so people were grabbing me anywhere they could, I took so much energy from that. It’s a nice feeling and as a track cyclist in Germany you won’t have that often.”
While he was celebrating his latest Berlin bonanza, the female sprinters were crowning their first – with Kristina Vogel leading the way in partying on and off the track.
Flawless throughout the week, the home favourite restored her customary position on stage by winning both races on the final day, enough to take the overall title.
In fact only one loss came her way through the entire three days, that in day two’s keirin against teammate Miriam Welte, who finished second overall ahead of Helena Casas and Sara Kankovska.
“Oh my God, it just feels incredible,” said Vogel. “It’s the first time this sprint has taken place at Six Day so it is amazing.
“It is special, I never expected to be able to go for so many wins, not unbeaten because of Miriam, but it was an awesome tournament and I was able to try a few new tactics.
“The crowd was amazing so I put everything into the race, I’m a totally crazy girl but it feels so nice and so welcome, everyone is so lovely and I’m just in a good mood.”
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