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Retiree Moerenhout to be honoured at event
Whilst speculation surrounds defending Rotterdam Six Day champion Iljo Keisse's participation at the Dutch event, organisers have confirmed a start list that includes a host of road professionals.
Dutch road race champion Nicki Terpstra, who will join Keisse at Quick Step next year, is one of a number of local stars scheduled will take to the boards of the Sportpaleis van Ahoy on January 6. Theo Bos will mark his return to Rabobank colours at the event, with Michael Kreder (Rabobank) and Kenny Van Hummel (Skil-Shimano) to also take part.
Denmark's Michael Mørkøv (Saxo Bank) will be partnered at the race by compatriot Jens-Erik Madsen. Mørkøv's regular track partner, Alex Rasmussen, will skip the event due to commitments with his new road squad, HTC-High Road.
Regular Rotterdam Six-day participant Bobbie Traksel is another whose obligation to his new squad, Team Pegasus, will take precedence over the event. The Australian team confirmed to Cyclingnews on Wednesday that it had secured financial backing that should ensure its place in the peloton.
Pairings for the 2011 Rabobank Rotterdam Six-day
Danny Stam (Ned) - Leon van Bon (Ned)
Franco Marvulli (Swi) - Niki Terpstra (Ned)
Michael Mørkøv (Den) - Jens-Erik Madsen (Den)
Danny Schep (Ned) - Theo Bos (Ned)
Robert Bartko (Ger) - Michael Kreder (Ned)
Jens Mouris (Ned) - Pim Ligthart (Ned)
Iljo Keisse (Bel) - Kenny De Ketele (Bel)
Raymond Kreder (Ned) - Nick Stöpler (Ned)
Leif Lampater (Ger) - Wim Stroetinga (Ned)
Jeff Vermeulen (Ned) - Yoeri Havik (Ned)
Mattias Pronk (Ned) - Tim Mertens (Bel)
Marc Hester (Den) - Geert-Jan Jonkman (Ned)
Kenny Van Hummel (Ned) - Andreas Müller (Ger)
Moerenhout to bow out at home
Organisers have also confirmed that retiring Rabobank rider Koos Moerenhout will close his career at the event with a series of special races that will feature a number of his contemporaries from both prior-to and during his 13-year professional career.
Former teammates and riders who progressed through the Dutch junior ranks with Moerenhout take part in a three-race omnium on the second night of competition, on January 7.
Confirmed for the special event are a host of former Dutch stars, including Leon van Bon, Michael Boogerd, Maarten den Bakker, Eric Wood, Aart Vierhouten, Bert Hiemstra, Steven de Jongh, Rik Reinerink, Max van Heeswijk, Alfred Rooks and Mourenhout's former teammate and fellow retiree, Servais Knaven.
Rotterdam Six Day invites Belgian despite continued legal questions
The Six Days of Rotterdam has provisionally invited Iljo Keisse to ride. The Belgian is currently in a dispute with the International Cycling Union (UCI) as to whether he can ride outside of Belgium, with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) now weighing in on the side of the UCI.
Keisse tested positive for two forbidden substances at the Gent Six Day race in 2008. The national federation dismissed the charges but the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) imposed a two-year ban. Last month the Belgian court of appeal allowed him to ride again, pending a final decision next spring.
After winning the Gent Six Day race, Keisse went on to ride in Zurich. Last weekend he was set to ride in the Manchester Revolution, but the UCI told the organiser not to allow him, saying that under the court ruling, his ban was lifted only within Belgium.
Keisse has said he will ask the Belgian court to take action against the UCI. The court had said that it could impose a 100,000 Euro fine against anyone who prevented him from riding. That fine could apparently also be applied to races who withdraw invitations to him.
"If we hear nothing from the UCI. Keisse may start, " said Frank Boele, the Rotterdam race organizer, to sportwereld.be. "We know that we would otherwise have to pay a penalty. We do not want to get ahead of ourselves, but for now Iljo is simply on the list of participants. "
WADA criticizes Belgian action
WADA president John Fahey issued a statement on the issue, criticizing the Belgian court's action. The CAS ruling is valid worldwide, but Keisse chose to appeal it not within Switzerland, where the CAS is located, but in the Belgium court system.
"Thus, Mr. Keisse has been able to ride on Belgian territory as a result of an interim decision of the Belgian Court which has jurisdiction in Belgium only,” he said.
"The WADA supports both the UCI and the CAS, he said. “I am truly concerned of this rather unusual situation in Belgium as it constitutes a threat to the acceptance of CAS as the international sports court for all athletes, and is therefore, a direct affront to clean athletes, and the integrity of clean sport.”
Experienced Dutchman already looking towards home Worlds
Dutch track rider Peter Schep has already tasted success during the 2010-11 season and hopes he can carry that winning through to the UCI Track World Championships on home turf in Apeldoorn, The Netherlands.
The experienced 33-year-old from Lopik took third in the Madison at the Melbourne Track World Cup earlier this month and finished second in last Friday's Australian Madison Championships, also held in Melbourne.
He started the season in style, partnering local boy Iljo Keisse to glory in the Gent Six Day and he explained to Cyclingnews the fanatical support the pair received.
"You can't imagine how the people were with him in Gent, it's unbelievable; nowhere else is it like this," said Schep. "There were about six-or seven thousand people every night, just for him. For me it was good to race with him! It was perfect."
Schep also explained the reasons behind the duo's strength: "I'm more of an endurance guy and to have a good team it's good to have one endurance rider and one sprinter. One of the guys like Iljo is perfect because he's a world-class rider.
"I've also raced with Theo Bos, who is also a sprint specialist, so I'm going to do Rotterdam Six with him in January. Those two guys are perfect for me to race with, the perfect combination."
The Rotterdam Six Day kicks off a busy schedule for Schep, which culminates in an appearance at the UCI Track World Championships, to be held in Holland next year.
"I think I do the World Cup in Beijing after Rotterdam, then I'll continue the Six Day tour with Berlin and Copenhagen, then I start preparations for the Worlds."
The 2006 points race world champion and 2007 Worlds silver medallist in the Madison will be doing both these events in Apeldoorn. "I'll do the Madison and the points race at Worlds - normally that's my main event - and this year I got second. I've taken third and first in it before. It's a little bit my thing... but for an endurance guy the preparation for a Madison and a points race is quite similar so that won't be a problem to do both.
"All I have to find out now is who my teammate will be. We have a couple of races in the next month and then we'll see."
Schep's task will be made tougher by the scintillating form of Australia's Cameron Meyer, who he recognises as being the best in these two events, having finished second to him at this year's world championships in Copenhagen and third (with Nick Stopler) behind the duo of Meyer and Leigh Howard in the Madison at the Melbourne Track World Cup.
"It was clear they were the best, but we knew this before, so that wasn't the problem. My teammate was a very young rider and I was very happy to race with a guy like him to get a good result."
Track cyclists to be supported toward 2012 Olympics
The OUCH Pro Cycling Team led by Dr. Brent Kay has signed the women's pursuit team from the USA, Sarah Hammer, Dotsie Bausch and Lauren Tamayo. The trio set a new world record time in the Pan American Championships in May, but the record has yet to be ratified by the UCI.
Dr. Kay, who has supported Hammer for several years, is also helping to fund four men (Cody O'Reilly, Austin Carroll, Dan Harm and Jacob Duehring) to compete in the men's team pursuit as well as sprinter Jimmy Watkins.
All of the athletes except Duehring, who is injured, are competing at the World Cup in Cali, Colombia. The women claimed the silver medal in the team pursuit on Thursday.
"The primary role of the team is to provide opportunities and support for top track athletes, to enable them to train and focus on performances, and to be able to take on an international racing program," Dr. Kay told Cyclingnews.
"In the past, track cyclists have used their road teams as their primary means of funding, but our goal is to change that and provide support so that riders can focus on the track."
Dr. Kay, an owner of the OUCH Sports Medicine Center, focuses his business on helping elite athletes with injuries, but is expanding the business to offer cycling-specific services such as fitting and physiological testing. He previously supported the team as a title sponsor, but now as owner of the squad he has committed to supporting the track team toward the 2012 Olympic Games in London and beyond.
He hopes to help the USA improve upon its record in track cycling on the world's stage.
"The US has had relatively poor results in the Olympics compared with other countries. By my count we've had 11 medals in the 124 year history. We should be doing better.
"London will serve as a foundation going forward," he said, adding that his long-term goals for the team are a decade down the road.
UCI asked race organization to omit Belgian
Iljo Keisse is continuing his fight to be allowed to race, while the UCI is standing firm on its opinion that he should not compete outside Belgium. Keisse is scheduled to start the Rotterdam Six Day on Thursday and is listed on the official program partnered with compatriot Kenny de Ketele, but the UCI has requested the organizers not let Keisse start.
According to Het Nieuwsblad, the race organization received the request from the UCI in an e-mail, but asked for clarification before they would break the start contract with Keisse.
Keisse's battle dates back to 2008, when he tested positive for two different banned substances at his hometown Six Day in Ghent, Belgium. He was cleared by the Royal Belgian Cycling Federation of doping after he was able to demonstrate that the cathine found in his system was the result of cold medicine and the HCT from a contaminated supplement, allowing Keisse to compete in the 2009 edition of the same race.
The UCI disagreed with the Belgian federation's decision, and appealed the verdict along with the World Anti-Doping Agency to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). The court issued a two-year suspension last July, but a Belgian appeals court temporarily overturned that decision in time for Keisse to compete in the 2010 Ghent Six Day. He won the race with partner Peter Schep.
Keisse went on to compete in the Zürich Six Day before being informed by the UCI while he was in Manchester, England for a one-day track race that he was not allowed to competed outside of Belgium.
In its October decision, the Brussels court said that it could fine any organization that refused to let Keisse start 100,000 euros. Keisse requested the UCI be fined after the Manchester incident, and the Rotterdam Six Day could face this fine should they concede to the UCI's demands.
"It is all happening over my head," Keisse told Sporza.be. "I can only wait and hope that everything works out when the Six Day starts on Thursday night."
The conflict looks set to continue into the road season, for which Keisse has been reinstated with the Quick Step team. The final decision of the Brussels appeals court is due in April.
"I wish the case was over long ago. [The UCI] have been playing with me for 772 days. I keep myself ready for every race, but mentally it is very difficult."
Teams for the 2011 Rotterdam Six Day
Danny Stam / Leon Van Bon (Ned)
Franco Marvulli / Niki Terpstra (Swi/Ned)
Michael Morkov / Jens-Erik Madsen (Den)
Peter Schep / Theo Bos (Ned)
Raymond Kreder / Michel Kreder (Ned)
Robert Bartko / Pim Ligthart (Ger/Ned)
Iljo Keisse / Kenny De Ketele (Bel)
Yoeri Havik / Nick Stopler (Ned)
Leif Lampater / Wim Stroetinga (Ger/Ned)
Jeff Vermeulen / Tim Mertens (Ned/Bel)
Jos Pronk / Jens Mouris (Ned)
Marc Hester / Geert-Jan Jonkman (Den/Ned)
Kenny Van Hummel / Andreas Muller (Ned/Ger)
Sercu scrambles to find last minute replacement
Belgian Iljo Keisse will not be allowed to participate in the Rotterdam Six Day following a request from the UCI to exclude him, Het Nieuwsblad reported today.
Organizers yesterday asked the UCI for clarification on the request, which stems from a two-year suspension for a 2008 doping incident given to Keisse by the Court of Arbitration for Sport last July, but temporarily overturned by a Belgian appeals court last fall. The UCI is standing firm in its assertion that the appeals court decision only allows Keisse to race inside Belgium until the court renders its final decision in April.
Patrick Sercu is now charged with finding a last-minute replacement to race with Keisse's scheduled partner, Kenny De Ketele.
"It's a disaster for Kenny de Ketele. I don't know who I will pair him with on Thursday. Remember that all of the available riders are already on the participants list. I cannot make a rider appear out of nowhere by magic - certainly not someone of the caliber of Iljo Keisse. I am looking for a substitute," Sercu told Sportwereld.be.
Sercu, who also coordinates the teams for the Bremen Six Day, doubts that Keisse will be able to fulfill his contract for that race since the final decision by the Brussels court is not due until April, well after the Six Day season has ended.
Pursuit world champion bests Hoy for top honours
Taylor Phinney may have spent the least amount of time on the track this year as any of his competitors in the best male track rider category, but Cyclingnews readers resoundingly rewarded the 20-year-old phenom with his first-ever Reader Poll award. The talented American earned 6,798 votes to top runner-up Chris Hoy by 2,735 and reverse the top-two from 2009's men's track poll.
At the UCI Track World Championships in Copenhagen, Denmark, the then 19-year-old Phinney won his second consecutive rainbow-striped jersey in the 4,000m individual pursuit. Winning a world championship, much less attempting back-to-back victories, is never an easy endeavor as Phinney faced stiff competition from New Zealand's Jesse Sergent, his Trek-Livestrong teammate on the road, as well as Australia's Jack Bobridge, who clocked the second fastest 4,000m pursuit time in history (4:14.427) en route to an Australian national championship in early February, a month and a half prior to the Worlds.
Sergent qualified quickest in 4:15.988, followed by Phinney in 4:16.102 and then Bobridge with 4:17.169. In the finals, however, Phinney topped Sergent 4:16.600 to 4:18.459 to add a second gold medal to his elite world championship collection.
"I came here with the aim of defending my title, so it is really unbelievable to win," Phinney said in Copenhagen. "It took a lot of effort, but it was worth it. The crowd was great, everybody cheering - it was awesome, that is all I can ask for."
Three days later Phinney earned another world championship medal, claiming the bronze in the Omnium. Phinney won the individual pursuit and finished second in the 1,000m time trial events, had a respectable flying 200m, but faltered in the points race and scratch race to finish behind winner Ed Clancy (Great Britain) and silver medalist Leigh Howard (Australia).
With Phinney's favourite event, the 4,000m individual pursuit, no longer an Olympic discipline, sadly March's track world championships in Copenhagen may be the last time we see Phinney compete on the track for some time as he pursues his road career. Phinney's 2010 road season was also brilliant, highlighted by a world championship in the U23 time trial, a bronze medal in the U23 road world championship, the US elite time trial championship and a second straight win in the U23 Paris-Roubaix.
Phinney will make his ProTeam debut in 2011 with the BMC Racing Team.
Three-time Cyclingnews male track rider of the year Chris Hoy finished 2010's poll in second place with 4063 votes. The Scot won the third keirin world championship of his career in Copenhagen and added another national title to his collection in September, winning the team sprint with Jason Kenny and Matthew Crampton at the British Track Championships. Other notable victories in 2010 were earned in December's UCI Track World Cup in Melbourne, Australia, where Hoy won the keirin and teamed with Jason Kenny and Matthew Crampton to claim the team sprint.
Hoy was a double medalist at the track world championships in March as he teamed with Ross Edgar and Jason Kenny to pick up a bronze medal in the team sprint. Hoy also earned bronze in the team sprint at the European track championships in Pruszkow, Poland, perhaps more notable for an ignominious mental lapse on Hoy's part in the men's sprint competition which saw him eliminated in the 1/16 finals by Ireland's Felix English after qualifying fastest with a blazing 9.999 for the flying 200m.
Hoy rounded out his season with a pair of second place finishes in the second round of the UCI Track World Cup held in Cali, Colombia in mid-December. Hoy claimed second in the team sprint, with teammates Jason Kenny and Matthew Crampton, as well as the sprint competition.
Third place honours in the poll went to Australia's Cameron Meyer who tallied 2,227 votes. Meyer had a spectacular year on the track, highlighted by three gold medals at the world championships. Meyer repeated as points race world champion, was part of Australia's 4,000m team pursuit squad which set a new track record of 3:55.654 en route to a gold medal, and also won the Madison with compatriot Leigh Howard.
Meyer claimed two gold medals at the Commonwealth Games later in the season, winning the points race and helping Australia garner gold in the 4,000m team pursuit.
At the Oceania Track Championships in Adelaide, Australia, Meyer picked up gold medals in the Madison and team pursuit, a feat he would duplicate in early December at the opening UCI Track World Cup of the 2010-2011 season in Melbourne, Australia. Following the World Cup, Meyer dominated the Australian Madison championships, lapping the field four times with teammate Jack Bobridge for the victory.
Cyclingnews Reader Poll results - Best male track rider
Taylor Phinney, 6798 votes (40.5%)
Chris Hoy, 4063 (24.2%)
Cameron Meyer, 2227 (13.3%)
Jack Bobridge, 1089 (6.5%)
Alex Rasmussen, 876 (5.2%)
Ed Clancy, 562 (3.3%)
Gregory Bauge, 437 (2.6%)
Bruno Risi, 397 (2.4%)
Jesse Sergent, 338 (2.0%)
Pursuit world championship, two world records highlight banner year
Sarah Hammer considered 2010 her "best-ever on a bike" and Cyclingnews readers agreed, awarding the 27-year-old American 4,162 votes and top honours as Female Track Rider of the Year in a tight, three-way contest over Great Britain's Victoria Pendleton and Australia's Anna Meares.
Early in the year at the UCI Track World Championships in Copenhagen, Denmark, Hammer powered to the 3,000m individual pursuit gold medal in a dominating performance. Hammer qualified fastest in 3:27.826, 2.5 seconds ahead of Great Britain's Wendy Houvenaghel, and then bested the Briton by nearly four seconds in the final to earn the third pursuit championship of her career.
Two months later at the Pan American Track Championships in Aquascalientes, Mexico, Hammer's scintillating form etched her name into the record books not once, but twice in two days. First, Hammer clocked 3:22.269 in the 3,000m individual pursuit qualifiers to break the world record of 3:24.537 set by New Zealand's Sara Ulmer during the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. The next day Hammer, along with teammates Lauren Tamayo and Dotsie Bausch, broke the 3,000m team pursuit world record of 3:21.552 set earlier in the year by New Zealand at the track world championships in Copenhagen, Denmark. The American trio stopped the clock in 3:19.569 en route to a gold medal against Cuba in the finals.
"I am thrilled to win the award, especially with so many other great competitors within the female track category," Hammer told Cyclingnews. "Results-wise, 2010 was my best-ever year on the bike, and even better, I had a blast doing it!
"On my side, 2010 felt like one of my most exciting years on a bike and one where I was very happy to be close to pain-free in the back department. I've realized that injuries are a funny thing as I've never been happier to be able to get on the bike and suffer and I think the results for the year illustrated that.
"Looking back, I think my highest achievement for 2010 (and in my career) was, without a doubt, breaking Sarah Ulmer's world record. I crossed the line and literally died about two minutes after the ride. The third kilo was so painful at altitude but in the end I guess it felt like what a proper world record-ride should feel like-pure pain."
The world records are still awaiting ratification by the UCI, however. "They are doing some tests in Mexico to see how the pressure used to keep the dome roof up in the velodrome affects the air pressure inside. Our team altimeters actually showed that it lowered elevation rather than raising, but I guess we will have to wait and see," said Hammer.
Victoria Pendleton finished as runner-up in the poll with 3,979 votes, 183 fewer than Hammer, which denied the 2008 and 2009 winner a hat-trick in the category. The 30-year-old Briton earned two medals at the UCI Track World Championships in Copenhagen - gold in the sprint, her fifth in the event and 11th world title overall, plus silver in the keirin. Pendleton also earned three gold medals at the British Track Championships, winning the 500m time trial, sprint, and keirin, which raised her national title count to 29 for her career.
Australia's Anna Meares rounded out the top three with 3,829 votes, 333 behind Hammer. The 27-year-old Meares won two world championships in Copenhagen, earning gold in the 500m time trial and the team sprint. Meares, along with teammate Kaarle McCulloch, lowered the world record twice en route to the team sprint world championship as they clocked 33.037 in qualifying and then 32.923 seconds to win gold versus China.
Meares also collected two gold medals at the Oceania Track Championships, winning the sprint and keirin events, and collected three victories at the opening UCI Track World Cup of the 2010-2011 season in Melbourne, where she won the sprint, 500m time trial and keirin.
Cyclingnews Reader Poll results - Best female track rider
Sarah Hammer, 4162 votes (24.8%)
Victoria Pendleton, 3979 (23.7%)
Anna Meares, 3829 (22.8%)
Lizzie Armitstead, 1998 (11.9%)
Tara Whitten, 1303 (7.8%)
Kaarle McCulloch, 608 (3.6%)
Simona Krupeckaite, 577 (3.4%)
Shuang Guo, 331 (1.9%)