Stunning Alex Dowsett coup rewarded with Yellow Jersey

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Alex Dowsett grits his teeth for Yellow

 

Matthias Brandle of IAM Cycling chalked up his second straight stage win, but the story of the day was Movistar Team’s Alex Dowsett blowing the Friends Life 2014 Tour of Britain asunder with the ride of his life in one of the most dramatic ever stages of the modern day race.

A trio of Exeter winner Matthias Brandle, Alex Dowsett and Madison Genesis’ Tom Stewart rode in perfect unison for the best part of 160km to dominate the long stage from Bath to Hemel Hempsted, which many had expected to end in a sprint.

Through the rural lanes of Wiltshire, Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire they poured on the power and the pace and cheered on by the biggest crowds of the week the trio prevailed to pull off one of the most stunning coups you will ever see.

At the start of the day Dowsett, in 21st position overall at 1 minute 25 seconds behind, was seemingly out of contention for the Friends Life General Classification honours, although there was every chance he would climb a fair few places in Sunday’s short time-trial which suits him perfectly.

The Essex rider, 25,  has looked strong all week and but for a double puncture when pressing hard in the break on Stage Four might well have featured much higher up the rankings before now.

Mark McNally on Kop Hill

Mark McNally on Kop Hill

Equally Brandle, in relaxed mode after winning in Exeter on Thursday and trailing the Friends Life Yellow Jersey of Michal Kwiatkowski by 2 minutes 35 seconds, felt able to try something spectacular and not count the cost should it fail. As for Stewart, the Yorkshire man featured strongly in the break on the Tumble stage on Tuesday and when he suddenly found himself in such elite company so early in the stage he just strapped in and hung on for dear life, buoyed no doubt by the local knowledge of team manager Roger Hammond.

Whether it was because the leaders were absorbed with marking each other, tired from an unexpectedly brutal week or were mindful of a very tough 227-kilometre run from Camberley to Brighton tomorrow, they allowed to go out way beyond what the peloton would normally allow such talented riders.

Five minutes, seven minutes, nine minutes and finally nine minutes 15 seconds at 82km from home. The lead grew and grew and by the time the peloton realised that the trio were not noticeably tiring it was too late. At which point there was a massive red alert and panic.

Omega Pharma Quick-Step blew themselves to pieces riding for Kwiatkowski with Mark Cavendish and Niki Terpstra burying themselves on the Chiltern climbs.  At one stage members of other teams were hand slinging the seemingly tireless Julien Vermote to try and get him to the front to reinforce the chase, which was a remarkable sight.

Team Sky were shorthanded but also sent Ben Swift up the front on a do or die mission to trying a claw back some of the time and eventually Bardiani CSF, the team of second place Edoardo Zardini, bent their backs. But it was all too late. The escape was well and truly away

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Alex Dowsett post race press conference

“I’m in the form of my life but that was the hardest day of my life,” admitted Dowsett afterwards. “It was into a headwind most of the day and once I got into the break I was actually a bit hacked with myself to be honest because I had always thought I might have a good time-trial on Sunday and I was leaving a lot out there on the road. I thought I thought I might have given too much.

“But then the gap went up to seven minutes and I thought, that’s getting quite big. Then it went to eight minutes, nine minutes, and finally topped out at a bit over nine minutes.  That’s when I really started digging in and a bit later I sort of made an agreement with Mathias that he could win the stage as it looked like there was a good chance of taking yellow.

“It was a risk I was willing to take. And he gave me absolute everything, I couldn’t have done it without him and Tom at Madison probably had one of the hardest days of his life, he gave everything he could and I’m grateful to him and Roger Hammond in the car for his advice with his local knowledge, telling us exactly what was coming up. I was very grateful for that.

“For the last 100-kilometres, I was more or less flat out. I was buckling in the last 5-kilometres and I was relying heavily on Matthias. Before the Commonwealths, I was doubting myself a lot. So this is more proof to me that I’m able to compete at this level.

“It was also great to see all my family at the finish, it was a complete surprise, I didn’t expect to see any of them until the finish in Brighton. It was some day.”

Dowsett now has the Friends Life Yellow Jersey and a 34 second lead over second placed Kwiatkowski and with the two riders probably fairly evenly matched on the time-trial – Dowsett might just be favourite to edge that one – a huge mount now depends on the monster Sussex stage finishing in Brighton, which features two Category One SKODA King of the Mountains climbs in the last 17-kilometres – Ditchling Beacon and the sharp ramp of Bear Road up to the racecourse.

Royal Crescent, Bath

Royal Crescent, Bath

Much will depend on how his team mates can react to the various attacks that will inevitably come but Movistar Team arrived at the Friends Life Tour of Britain determined to challenge for overall honours and have supported Dowsett with a versatile team – Giovanni Visconti, Pablo Lastras, Sylvester Szmyd, Ion Izaguirre and Enrique Sanz Unze – capable of mounting a strong defence of the Friends Life Yellow Jersey.

“I will give it everything I have got. Obviously Kwiatkowski is going like a train so I need to rest up as much as I can and give it my all tomorrow and in the time-trial. It’s a nice positon to be in though.”  

Saturday sees the penultimate stage of the Friends Life Tour of Britain, and the modern Tour’s first visit to Sussex, for a leg starting from Camberley, in Surrey Heath, through West and East Sussex before the finish on Brighton’s Maderia Drive.

Highlights of Stage Six are on ITV4 at 2000 on Friday 12 September, with live coverage resuming from 1300 on Saturday on ITV4, for Stage Seven from Camberley to Brighton.  Full details of the television coverage of the Friends Life Tour of Britain, including British Eurosport’s live coverage, can be found here.

For full Stage Six results, click here.

 

 

Rotterdam Six-Day set for exciting final fight – Watch Live Here!

Tuesday 7 January 2014 | Racing and live link starts 18:45 – 23:00 CET | Day 6

Biographies riders: http://www.sixdayracing.com/cyclists/Cyclists-Rotterdam-2014/ (click on photo’s).
Our edited highlights will be posted tomorrow with full round up and results.

 

 

Kenny De Ketele and Jasper De Buyst will begin the final day of the Rotterdam Six-Day as overall leaders. After five days, the two Belgians hold a one-lap lead three rival teams – all set to take a bonus lap and create a four-way fight.

“Our one-lap advantage doesn’t really count because all our rivals will take one as well tomorrow,” said De Buyst. “It will come down to a points’ battle. Or one couple needs to be so strong that they can take another lap. I think Niki Terpstra and Iljo Keisse are our biggest opponents, but we will also have to watch the others.”

Terpstra and Keisse count 295 points and sit in second behind the Belgians at 308 points. Danes Michael Mørkøv and Alex Rasmussen hold third place with 292 and Jens Mouris and Wim Stroetinga fourth with 185. Once a pair reaches a 100 multiple, it takes a bonus lap. The standings should guarantee a thrilling final on Tuesday night.

Best position
Terpstra and Keisse proved how strong they are in the second Madison. They took control by taking an early lap. They were able to wait after that and just countered every attack by their rivals. Eventually, the chase ended in a sprint that Mørkøv narrowly won over Terpstra.

“It was a really tough race but I’m glad we could finish it off with a strong sprint,” said Rasmussen. “This was the penultimate day so everyone tried to get in the best position possible. That’s why this win was so important.”

Belkin Boys
Theo Bos and Graeme Brown scored their first victory of the week in the opening Madison. The team Belkin riders worked hard to form the lead group and Brown won the four-way sprint. Given they lost seven laps on day one, their win failed to change the top end of the standings.

Sprint Masters
Jeffrey Hoogland enjoyed the day and the Sprint Masters title battle. With a second place in the sprint final and a victory in the handicap sprint, the Dutchman increased his overall lead. Teun Mulder finished second and third, and saw the difference grow to three points. Hoogland appears likely to win the overall tomorrow in Rotterdam.
Elite | General classification after day 5:

 

Sprint Masters | General classification after day 5:


Excitement rises in Ahoy Rotterdam – Day 4 Video & Results

Kenny De Ketele and Jasper De Buyst reclaimed the lead from Niki Terpstra and Iljo Keisse during day four of the Rotterdam Six-Day. However, two couples joined the overall fight: Jens Mouris and Wim Stroetinga, winners of the big chase, and Michael Mørkøv and Alex Rasmussen.

“It’s going to be a real fight now,” said De Ketele.

“It’s hard to control with four teams,” added team-mate De Buyst. “And the other three duos are very strong as well.”

Only points
The second Madison began as a battle between De Ketele/De Buyst and Terpstra/Keisse. However, gruelling attacks helped duos Mouris/Stroetinga and Danes Mørkøv/Rasmussen move ahead. Thanks to the lap they each gained, four couples sit on the lead lap with only points separating them.

De Ketele and De Buyst count the most at 250. Terpstra and Keisse with 243 and Mørkøv and Rasmussen with 222 stand close by. Mouris and Stroetinga count only 156 but seem to be improving.

Small chase
An exciting Madison kicked off Sunday. The lead couples kept cool and left the lower-ranked teams battle. After a fierce fight that included Kreder cousins, Vivien Brisse and Marc Hester took the win.

Sprint Masters
Jeffrey Hoogland was lucky on Sunday. Fellow overall leader Teun Mulder participated in the tandem sprint demonstration and beat Hoogland in the sprint final. However, he clearly ran out of power in the handicap sprint. He finished fourth and last.

Hoogland placed second behind Bart Hommes and reclaimed the lead. Only, one point separates the two.
Elite | General classification after day 4:

 

Sprint Masters | General classification after day 4:

 

Biographies riders: http://www.sixdayracing.com/cyclists/Cyclists-Rotterdam-2014/ (click on photo’s).

 

You can watch live each day here on Cycling Shorts, action starts tonight at 19:00 until 23:00 CET or watch our edited highlights of each night posted daily with full round up and results.

 

Rotterdam 6-Day – Terpstra and Keisse hit back hard – Day 3

Niki Terpstra and Iljo Keisse recaptured the Rotterdam Six-Day lead during the third night. The Dutch-Belgian duo lost their first spot to Kenny De Ketele and Jasper De Buyst on day two but rebounded during Saturday’s final Madison.

The defending champions sat one lap down going into final 250-lap Madison but managed to turn the tables. They won thanks to a one-lap advantage but also cracked the 200-point barrier to earn a bonus lap and to take the overall lead. They’re now one lap ahead and have more points, 204, than their closest rival De Ketele and De Buyst, 197, and Stroetinga and Mouris, 111.

Enough power
“With 250 laps it was a tough race,” said Keisse. “De Ketele and De Buyst wanted to level us and tried to take a lap in the final but fortunately we had enough power to keep up with them. In the end we kept our lead on them intact and also took an additional lap on the rest of the field.”

Easy
The leading couples took it easy during the first Madison of the night. Barry Markus and Leif Lampater won the chase. The Dutch-German duo collected enough points along the way to stay ahead of the other four couples who also took a lap.

Sprint Masters
Jeffrey Hoogland no longer sits alone on the Sprint Masters leader board. The swift Dutchman won the sprint final, but was caught by surprise in the handicap sprint. Teun Mulder attacked early and bagged the win, while Hoogland only finished third. Both men count 12 points. Mickaël Bourgain and Bart Hommes sit far behind, both with 18 points.
Elite | General classification after day 3:

 

Sprint Masters | General classification after day 3:

 

 

Biographies riders: http://www.sixdayracing.com/cyclists/Cyclists-Rotterdam-2014/ (click on photo’s).

 

You can watch live each day at: http://www.sixdayracing.com/tv  from around 7pm (CET) or watch our edited highlights of each night here on Cycling Shorts daily.

 

 

Belgians take reigns in Rotterdam Six-Day

Belgians Kenny De Ketele and Jasper Buyst took the lead from Niki Terpstra and Iljo Keisse in the Rotterdam Six-Day. Despite their rivals’ doublette, they advanced with the 200-lap Madison win in the second night of racing at the Ahoy Arena.

“We took an early lap which gave us the advantage”, said De Ketele. “We were in control for a long time but the double lap by Terpstra and Keisse put us under pressure. Fortunately, we were able to straighten things up with a late attack.”

Four couples
Four couples compete for the overall victory after two days. Terpstra and Keisse count 143 points, Mørkøv and Rasmussen 112 and Mouris and Stroetinga 68. However, they all sit one lap behind De Ketele and De Buyst, who have 151.

Bad change
De Ketele and De Buyst missed an opportunity to take the lead earlier in the night due to a bad hand sling in the super sprint. Their rivals eliminated them halfway in the race. Terpstra and Keisse were already out of the event at that time.

Sprint Masters
Jeffrey Hoogland heads into the weekend as the leader in the Sprint Masters. The Dutchman retained his top spot thanks to a second place in the sprint final. Frenchman Mickaël Bourgain claimed the win. Teun Mulder is Hoogland’s biggest challenger. Hoogland, who won the keirin bronze medal at the Olympics, sits only one point down. Bart Hommes occupies the third place with a two-point gap.

Elite | General classification after day 2:

Sprint Masters | General classification after day 2:

 

Biographies riders: http://www.sixdayracing.com/cyclists/Cyclists-Rotterdam-2014/ (click on photo’s).

 

You can watch live each day at: http://www.sixdayracing.com/tv  from around 7pm (CET) or watch our edited highlights of each night here on Cycling Shorts daily.

 

 

Champions – Terpstra & Keisse Start Strongly In Rotterdam 6-Day

With 26 world-ranked Six-Day riders forming 13 teams, we will be bringing you a spectacular cycling event from Rotterdam.

Rotterdam Six-Day line-up:

1. Terpstra Niki NED / Keisse Iljo BEL
2. Mouris Jens NED / Stroetinga Wim NED
3. Havik Yoeri NED / Stöpler Nick NED
4. Hester Marc DEN / Brisse Vivien FRA
5. Marvulli Franco SUI / Marguet Tristan SUI
6. De Ketele Kenny BEL / De Buyst Jasper BEL
7. Markus Barry NED / Lampater Leif GER
8. Mørkøv Michael DEN / Rasmussen Michael DEN
9. Bartko Robert GER / Kalz Marcel GER
10. Bos Theo NED / Brown Graeme AUS
11. East Guy USA / Holloway Daniel USA
12. Kreder Michel NED / Kreder Wesley NED
13. Boskamp Melvin NED / Asselman Jesper NED
14. Zwet van der Arno NED / Hoffmann Nolan RSA
15. Caspers Didier NED / Zijl van Melvin NED

Niki Terpstra and Iljo Keisse started strongly in the 32nd Six Days of Rotterdam. Last year’s winners ended the first day in the Ahoy Arena in the same spot where they finished one year ago. Michael Mørkøv and Alex Rasmussen, winners of the final Madison, sit second at nine points down, 81 to 72.

Couples Kenny De Ketele and Jasper Buyst (57 points) and Jens Mouris and Wim Stroetinga (24) are the only others on the same lap as the leaders.

One step ahead
Terpsta and Keisse proved yet again that they are a force to be reckoned with this week by riding two strong Madisons. During the second, the Omega Pharma-Quick-Step riders were constantly one step ahead of the competition but were left with only a fourth place – one lap down. Thanks to a second place in the first Madison, behind Franco Marvulli and Tristan Marguet, but with a lap advantage over the rest of the field and victories in the derny race and the super elimination race they seized the overall lead.

“The first big Madison of a Six-Day is always important,” said Keisse. “We might have lost a lap but we laid our cards on the table. I think it was a good day.” Terpstra agreed with his Belgian partner. “The first place is the best place to be in. Now we have to defend that position.”

Sprint Masters
Jeffrey Hoogland led the sprint field. During the first evening, the swift Dutchman bagged only three penalty points. Teun Mulder and Bart Hommes received one and two more respectively. French Mickaël Bourgain collected eight points.

 

Biographies riders: http://www.sixdayracing.com/cyclists/Cyclists-Rotterdam-2014/ (click on photo’s).

 

You can watch live each day at: http://www.sixdayracing.com/tv  or watch our edited highlights of each night here on Cycling Shorts daily.

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