De Buyst/De Ketele keep lead in Rotterdam Six

Four teams still in contention for the overall victory

Jasper de Buyst and Kenny de Ketele lead the Rotterdam Six-Days after day five but three other teams are still in contention for the overall victory on Tuesday night. Michael Mørkøv and Alex Rasmussen made up more points on the top two teams and now sit in third position at only three points from Iljo Keisse and Niki Terpstra. The Belgian leaders still consider the Omega Pharma-Quick Step riders their biggest rivals.

“Our one-lap advantage [due to reaching the 300-points mark] 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 pair 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.”

The opening Madison of the night saw the first victory for Theo Bos and Graeme Brown. The Belkin duo had trouble adjusting to life at the Rotterdam Six and lost seven laps on the first day alone. Brown edged out the German Marcel Kalz in the sprint to take the win here. "Up until now things haven't been going really well with us," Bos told De Telegraaf. "Maybe we shouldn't do this again, even though it's great preparation for the road season."

The elimination race saw Mørkøv and Rasmussen move even closer to the top two. Keisse was initially called out of the race with three teams remaining but the sprint had to be re-run. In the final sprint, Alex Rasmussen beat the Keisse and took 20 points, bringing the deficit down to 12. Third place in the time trial saw the Danes cut their deficit on Keisse and Terpstra still further, and they are now just three points off the pace.

The derny races were as spectacular as ever with speeds of well over 70 km/h when Niki Terpstra beat Mørkøv and De Ketele. In the second race, Jasper de Buyst outsprinted Iljo Keisse by millimeters. The top four teams didn't take points in the super sprint so the battle for points and laps was full on in the final Madison.

The four teams - Keisse/Terpstra, De Buyst/De Ketele, Mørkøv/Rasmussen and Jens Mouris/Wim Stroetinga - shadowed each other throughout the race. No one managed to take a lap on the other teams, reducing the high-speed event to a thrilling sprint after 200 laps, where Rasmussen narrowly beat 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.”

By finishing third, De Buyst/De Keteke broke the 300-points mark and gained a bonus lap but Terpstra/Keisse and Mørkøv/Rasmussen are only five and eight points away respectively from that bonus lap. Mouris/Stroetinga, too,  are also within range of a bonus lap with their overall tally just 15 points shy of 300. The final night in the Ahoy Arena will be a battle for points with four teams fighting for victory.

Overall standings after day five
1Kenny De Ketele / Jasper De Buyst (Bel) RTV Rijnmond308pts
2Niki Terpstra (Ned) / Iljo Keisse (Bel) Flanderijn Incasso295 -1lap
3Michael Mørkøv / Alex Rasmussen (Den) VD Valk Hotel Ridderkerk292 
4Jens Mouris / Wim Stroetinga (Ned) Vlasman185 
5Barry Markus (Ned) / Leif Lampater (Ger) Peinemann152 -2laps
6Yoeri Havik / Nick Stöpler (Ned) AA Drink166 -8laps
7Robert Bartko / Marcel Kalz (Ger) Tacx108 -9laps
8Franco Marvulli / Tristan Marguet (Swi) Mako Cleanng Service140 -13laps
9Vivien Brisse (Fra) / Marc Hester (Den) Werkgevers Servicepunt108 
10Michel Kreder / Wesley Kreder (Ned) AD42 -18laps
11Guy East / Daniel Holloway (USA) Island 20034 
12Theo Bos (Ned) / Graeme Brown (Aus) Belkin84 -20laps
13Melvin Boskamp / Jesper Asselman (Ned) Metec42 
14Arno van der Zwet (Ned) / Nolan Hoffmann (RSA) Holland Werkt64 -23laps
15Didier Caspers / Melvin van Zijl (Ned) AM Recycling20 -24laps

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