Havik and Stroetinga win London Six Day after nail biting climax

Brits Latham and Tennant fade to fourth place

Yoeri Havik and Wim Stroetinga (centre) celebrate becoming overall Dix Day winners 2018 (John Walton/PA Wire/PA Images)
(Image credit: PA Wire/PA Images)

The London Six Day was decided on the final lap of the final event on Sunday, with Dutch team Yoeri Havik and Wim Stroetinga winning the overall.

The pair started the day fourth in the standings, but won a thrilling final chase to take the title on points, ahead of Australians Leigh Howard and Kelland O’Brien, with Roger Kluge and Theo Reinhardt third.

British duo Chris Latham and Andy Tennant had started the day leading the general classification, but at a points deficit, and were unable to hold on to their lap advantage to take the win.

Before the evening’s racing began Tennant admitted they would not be chasing points and would put all their efforts into the final Madison, a risky strategy that so nearly paid off.

The Brits showed well in the women’s competition too, with Emily Nelson especially active in all the events. Nelson finished fifth overall, with Georgia Baker, Ashlee Ankudinoff and Kirsten Wild taking the top three spots with Kristina Clonan in fourth.

How it happened

Latham and Tennant were first out of the Team elimination, rolling over the line well off the back of the bunch, apparently happy to return to their cabin while their rivals fought for points on the track. 

Second overall, it was Germans Kluge and Reinhardt who won, extending their points lead over the Brits to 45, though still behind by one lap. 

In a reversal of Saturday’s 250 metre Madison time trial, the lower half of the general classification contested the event on Sunday. No team was able to best Leigh Howard and Kelland O’Brien’s time from day five, meaning the Australians took the honours in that event.

The top ranked teams rode the 60 lap Derny, with a swap of rider half way through. British pair Adam Blythe and Jon Dibben rode the perfect race, coming late to take the win.

Meanwhile, Tennant and Latham could finish only fifth, and, with the three teams ahead of them scoring well enough to pass the 400 point mark, they were awarded a lap, pushing the Brits down to fourth overall.

Unlike other days, the opening laps of the final, 60 minute Madison was restrained, taking a few minutes to get going. However, when Tennant and Latham took a lap with 50 minutes to go the race exploded, the leading teams trying to knock lumps off their rivals. 

In what was a hugely entertaining race, the Brits' four main rivals worked together to take laps back, while Tennant and Latham worked either on their own or with lower ranked teams to take laps.

Sitting fourth of general classification with just 14 laps to go, they tried one last gasp bid to take a winning lap, attacking on the wheel of Adam Blythe, but they were unable to get more than half a lap advantage and were taken in the final 250 circuit.

Sunday's opening women's race was a 20km Madison, but with intermediate sprints every 10 laps, points - not laps - were the main target. 

In second place overall, Dutch women Kirsten Wild and Nina Kessler began the exciting race aggressively, trying to regain ground. However, other than finishing second in the first sprint to Brit Emily Nelson and her Russian team mate Evgenia Augustinas, they were never in the race. 

In the end it was GC leaders Ashlee Ankudinoff and Georgia Baker who battled for the win with Nelson and Augustinas, the Australians coming out on top, further extending their overall lead.

The final event, the 10km Scratch was a cagey affair, with little early action, the race building inexorably towards a sprint. Emily Nelson tried a log range attack but was taken on the line by Australian Kristina Clonan securing third overall.

The Germans have dominated the Eisberg sprint competition, and once again Max Levy qualified fastest for the sprint finals, though he could not best compatriot Robert Förstemann in the final. 

Brits Lewis Oliva and Alex Spratt both won their finals, beating François Pervis and Shane Perkins respectively, with Spratt shocking both opposition and crowd by opening his sprint with over two laps remaining.

After Oliva won two of the week’s Keirins with long range attacks, his rivals were on their guard when he tried on Sunday, and it was Förstemann who took the win there, while compatriot Levy won the overall.

Phynova London Six Day - final standings

1. Yoeri Havik and Wim Stroetinga (Ned) 0 laps, 451 points

2. Leigh Howard and Kelland O’Brien (Aus) 0 laps, 443 points

3. Roger Kluge and Theo Reinhardt (Ger) 0 laps, 439 points

4. Chris Latham and Andy Tennant (Gbr) 0 laps, 375 points

5. Wojciech Pszczolarski Daniel Staniszewski (Pol) -1 lap, 367 points

6. Marc Hester and Jesper Mørkøv (Den) -1 laps, 360 points

7. Jules Hesters and Otto Vergaerde (Bel) -2 laps, 324 points

8. Andreas Graf and Andreas Müller (Aut) -3 laps, 195 points

9. Nick Stöpler and Melvin Van Zijl (Ned) -5 laps, 285 points

10. Shane Archbold and Aaron Gate (NZ) -11 laps, 259 points

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Owen Rogers is an experienced journalist, covering professional cycling and specialising in women's road racing. He has followed races such as the Women's Tour and Giro d'Italia Donne, live-tweeting from Women's WorldTour events as well as providing race reports, interviews, analysis and news stories. He has also worked for race teams, to provide post race reports and communications.