Bolton’s Matthew Rotherham admitted he couldn’t have asked for more after going wheel to wheel with some of the world’s best sprinters at Six Day London.
The 20-year-old and his younger brother Tom got the chance to strut their stuff at London’s LeeValley VeloPark last week as Six Day racing returned to England for the first time in 35 years.
Older sibling Matthew was in particularly impressive form, running three-time European sprint champion Denis Dmitriev close across the whole six days before eventually finishing as runner up to the Russian.
Going into the final day on Friday, Matthew looked like a man on a mission to finish top of the pile, and he got off to the perfect start by winning the flying 200m TT with rival Dmitriev down in fifth spot.
But the two found themselves up against each other in a mammoth semi-final, and Dmitriev wrestled back the overall standings lead by beating the Bolton rider and then conquering Germany’s Eric Balzer in the final.
However, former Canon Slade School pupil Matthew insisted he had plenty of reasons to hold his head up high after his performances in the English capital.
“This week has been an absolutely incredible experience. We’ve got a sell-out crowd and you couldn’t ask for more as a British rider,” he said.
“The atmosphere in the velodrome is just electric. As soon as there is good action the crowd is sensational and it’s built and built throughout the week.
“We finished with such a fantastic night and it really was an honour to be here. I’m really pleased I came up with the goods there at the end too.
“I came second overall behind the great Denis Dmitriev and of course I am happy with that. He is a multiple medal winner and I’ve been qualifying not too far off him this week so to be in that company is great for me.
“It’s a big winter training for me now and I’m looking to get my speed higher all the time. I’ll be racing the revolution series again, so when I get to the summer grand prix season I can get some good results.”
Rotherham’s younger brother Tom also put in an encouraging showing before eventually finishing the sprint classification in eighth.
— Matthew Rotherham (@MattRotherham) October 23, 2015
While fellow Bolton rider Chris Latham also caught the headlines after he and fellow Brit Ollie Wood finished as runners-up in the general classification behind Belgium’s Kenny De Ketele and Moreno De Pauw.
“It was an amazing finish. To be fighting for the win on that very last sprint of the last race was incredible,” said 21-year-old Latham.
“We didn’t come into this thinking about winning it, but going into the final race of course we thought we might be able to hang onto it and take the overall victory.
“I sat Ollie down before the final race and we came up with a plan. We both knew we had to win most of the events on the final night, and we got the bonus lap we needed with the extra points as well.
“We’ve definitely caught the Six Day bug now, both of us. We’d love to come back and do some more of these, although I didn’t realise how hard they were to be honest.
“It’s really tough racing, but we’ve had some invites to more Six Days in Europe over the winter so if we can make it fit in with the training we’ll definitely be going.”
Six Day London took place at Lee Valley VeloPark – www.sixday.com. Packed crowds came and watched the world’s best track cyclists in action and to be part of an electric party atmosphere at London’s Olympic Velodrome.
Image courtesy of Matthew Rotherham via Twitter, with thanks.