Chris Latham and Andy Tennant rode two excellent Madison races to take the overall lead at the London Six Day on Saturday night.
The British pair become the fifth team to finish a day leading the general classification in the five days so far, and thoroughly deserved their place at the top of the standings.
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The night began with the first Madison where the British duo took an early lap and repeatedly countered their rivals, finishing second, but taking the overall lead.
The night closed with a thrilling 45 minute Madison where they rode intelligently, reacting only when attacked by those teams one lap behind them. All the leading teams repeatedly attempted to bludgeon the Brits into submission, but they were just about equal to the task.
Latham and Tennant have just one more day to survive the attentions of their rivals, and while they have a points deficit on second place Roger Kluge and Theo Reinhardt, the Germans have only one Madison, the final chase, the take a lap.
How it happened
Like all the week’s previous Madisons, the opening race of the night saw a number of teams taking early laps. These included Tennant and Latham, who then reacted every time their rivals threatened their lead.
Their eventual second place, behind New Zealand pair, Shane Archbold and Aaron Gate, took the Brits to the top of the leaderboard, one lap ahead of the field.
The British pair were aught out in the Team Elimination, losing points to all their rivals, including eventual winners, Danish pair Marc Hester and Jesper Mørkøv to take the win.
The 250m Madison time trial and 60 lap Derny race saw only half the field competing in each.
Australians Leigh Howard and Kelland O’Brien conclusively won the TT, in which the top half of the general classification competed, while the lower half competed in the Derny.
That event saw those teams’ riders swapping during a neutralised section half way through the 60 lap event. Fred Wright attacked with around 20 laps remaining of a thrilling race, but was caught on the final lap, and Archbold and Gate took their second win of the night.
The final Madison was hugely entertaining with constant attacks as teams attempted to catch the British team out. However, such was their control, they were only severe pressure in the closing stages when Kluge and Reinhardt unsuccessfully attempted to gain a lap.
The women’s Madison, the opening event of their evening, was won by Australians Ashlee Ankudinoff and Georgia Baker, taking top spot overall. Kirsten Wild may have begun the weekend as favourite, but she and Dutch team mate Nina Kessler, seemed out of sort, finishing way down.
The Dutch woes continued in the Team Elimination, with Kessler looking under par and Ankudinoff and Baker winning to confirm their dominance in the event overall.
It was a relatively slow night for the sprinters, with Max Levy’s qualification time more than one second slower than Friday night. That did not stop the German beating compatriot Robert Förstemann in the final and consolidating his lead in the Eisberg sprinter’s competition.
Riding his best race of the week, Britain’s Alex Spratt finished third again, before compatriot Lewis Oliva won the Keirin for the second time this week, once again taking a flyer more than two laps from the line.
Phynova London Six Day – standings after Day five
1. Chris Latham and Andy Tennant (Gbr) 0 laps, 322 points
2. Roger Kluge and Theo Reinhardt (Ger) -1 lap 339 points
3. Leigh Howard and Kelland O’Brien (Aus) -1 lap, 337 points
4. Yoeri Havik and Wim Stroetinga (Ned) -1 laps, 334 points
5. Wojciech Pszczolarski Daniel Staniszewski (Pol) -1 lap, 315 points
6. Marc Hester and Jesper Mørkøv (Den) -1 laps, 313 points
7. Jules Hesters and Otto Vergaerde (Bel) -4 laps, 279 points
8. Nick Stöpler and Melvin Van Zijl (Ned) -4 laps, 266 points
9. Andreas Graf and Andreas Müller (Aut) -4 laps, 181 points
10. Shane Archbold and Aaron Gate (NZ) -10 laps, 181 points