Consistency key for Wiggins and Cavendish
PUBLISHED: 13:39 29 October 2016 | UPDATED: 13:39 29 October 2016
British pair chasing Six Day London honours
With just two days of action left to go Sir Bradley Wiggins insists consistency is key if he and Mark Cavendish are to win this year’s Six Day London.
The current world Madison champions are teaming up together for Wiggins’ final race on British soil and want to go out with a bang on Sunday.
But in Belgium’s Kenny de Ketele and Moreno de Pauw they know they are up against two of the best Six Day riders in the world.
The Belgians took the lead on night two at the Lee Valley VeloPark, with Cavendish and Wiggins moving up to second in the final race of the night.
And barring a brief trip into third place when Australia’s Cameron Meyer and Callum Scotson bumped the British pairing down for a short period on Day Three, the top two have remained the same ever since.
With two nights of racing to go, Wiggins knows one slip would give the defending champions room to breathe, so consistency is his team’s mantra for the rest of the week.
“You know, it’s not necessarily about winning every event. You’ve just got to be constantly scoring points, constantly up there, constantly amassing numbers on the board. That’s what’s important over the six days really,” said the five-time Olympic champion.
“They’re the leaders in Six Days really, this is their specialty. They train all year round for these races so we’ve always said that they’re going to be tough opposition.
“They were winners last year so we’re going to be up against it with them but we’re right there at the moment so, hopefully, we can carry on.”
The Belgians’ lead over Cavendish and Wiggins was extended at the end of night four as they accrued enough points to take a lap, but in real terms the Brits actually reduced their deficit to the leaders from 41 points at the end of day three, to just 23 - and it was consistency that did it.
After winning their 500m Madison TT heat to place third in the event’s overall standings, Cavendish finished second in his Derny race, before they combined for third in the 250m Madison TT and fifth in the closing Madison chase.
If there’s one event Wiggins is happy to miss out on though it’s the Longest Lap, which involves performing a track stand so as to not cross the start line, before the gun fires and a one-lap sprint ensues.
“It’s the worst race for me,” added the seven-time track world champion. “It’s like when you’re trying to do something that’s quite complicated and quite hard to do, but you’re aware that 5,000-6,000 people are watching you do it, it’s quite hard.
“I just take the opportunity to get out early and keep the feet up.”
Cavendish is not one to have his feet up, though, with his Six Day appearance coming at the end of a gruelling road season, while he also won silver in the Olympic omnium in Rio.
He flew to London for the Six Day straight from Abu Dhabi, where he won two stages of the four-day race at the end of last week, and only now is he beginning to feel back to his normal self.
“I’m feeling all right but it took me a little while to get into it,” admitted the 31-year-old. “I’ve just finished off the road season and I haven’t been on a track since the Olympics.
“But it’s quite natural being back in a partnership with Bradley on the track and I’ve been feeling better in the last few days.”
While his form may be improving, illustrated by their fastest 250m Madison TT time of the week on Day Four, Cavendish knows they must keep an eye out for teams behind them in the standings, if they are to catch their prey in front of them.
“There’s been a lot of different winners of the individual events,” added the three-time world Madison champion.
“You can see how many points there are, it’s not just about the chase and the end of the night, people are getting a lot of points in other races.
“So we have to watch out for the guys at the back getting a bonus lap. We have to take that into consideration and see how it goes for the six nights.”
*Six Day London takes place between October 25-30 at Lee Valley VeloPark on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Half term fun, with or without the kids. Tickets on sale at sixday.com.