News: European Derny Championships


Kenny de Ketele emerged as the leading man from a star-studded cast to land the European Derny Championships for the second time

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News: European Derny Championships
(thanks Paul)

Kenny de Ketele emerged as the leading man from a star-studded cast to land the European Derny Championships for the second time with victory in Hannover at the weekend.

The Belgian Six Day star relegated another former champion, David Vignano of Italy, to second place in the 120-lap 40km race, with Dutch rider Jesper Asselman in the final podium spot.

The finishing time of 37 minutes nine seconds, an average speed of 64.6km per hour on an outside wooden 333-metre track, reflected the brutal speed of the final, with Vignano, paced by Cordiano Dagnoni, making the running for over two thirds of the race as de Ketele settled in second with Michel Vaarten.It was too much for defending champion Jesper Morkov of Denmark, who was unable to get on terms and in the end his despairing shouts of Ho (slow down) to his pacer Rene Dupont told its story as he wound up fifth.

German hope Stefan Schafer, paced by Peter Bauerlein, had been part of the eventual four-strong leading group until 30 laps to go when he fell away and eventually took fourth, a lap down. It was an unwelcome surprise for the hosts, whose two other riders, Franz Schiewer (Gerd Gessler) and Christoph Schweizer (Christian Dippel) could not even make the nine-up final.

But they were in good company, with a trio of world track champions also going out in Friday’s three heats.

First to go was 2014 world scratch champion Ivan Kovalev (Thomas Ruder), who could not keep pace with Vignano, Morkov and Schafer, and in the end only scrapped into the minor final in sixth place. He edged out reigning British champion Matt Gittings (George Gilbert), who had returned from racing in the United States for the event.

Next to bite the dust were Spain’s David Juaneda Muntaner, the 2014 Madison World Champion with compatriot Albert Torres, and three-time world champion Morgan Kneisky of France. Paced by Bauerlein, Muntaner led heat two for much of the 60-laps, but again as the charge for the line and the top three spots intensified, Muntaner was found wanting against the specialist performers.

Team Raleigh rider Kneisky came up short too, edging ahead of Muntaner for fifth place in a heat won by Asselman. De Ketele took the third heat in impressive style and shaded the fastest time of the day, just over 19 minutes, with Switzerland’s Claudo Imhof (Robert Buchmann) also looking strong in second place.

Britain’s other entry James Holland-Leader (Graham Bristow) finished eighth, his hopes undermined by some early technical issues. The quality of the 27-strong entry, with 15 countries represented, deserved a quality winner in de Ketele, who had been the champion in 2009.

He always looked the most likely as the final progressed, Imhof falling away at the halfway stage, with Schafer’s challenge also fizzling out to the disappointment of the home crowd. Vignano continued to lead until 14 to go when de Ketele surged to the front with a series of 17 second laps. He was never headed with Vignano and Asselman finishing in close order but never able to get in a decisive challenge.

Schweizer won a competitive minor final over 30km in 30 minutes 22 seconds, with the three world champions out of the podium spots.

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