Kris was just telling us that oxygen cylinders are banned from track centres under UCI regulations. Marc piped-up; “that’s a pity, I could have done with a cylinder strapped to my back on the first night!” The laughs we have at the Lotto Zesdaagse van Hasselt 2007.

He’s one of the boys now, amazing how much difference a couple of days can make to relationships. It’s wet outside and very warm in here at the Lotto Zesdaagse van Hasselt, there was a big junior and ladies programme in the morning, complete with the usual crashes. Belgian junior track racing is not for those of a nervous disposition.

The first race for us was a points, both Franco and Marc are compaining of “heavy legs”, maybe due to being on the track at 14.00 instead of 20.00.

I asked Patrick Sercu how Marc Hester is, after his crash; he’s fine but isn’t riding tonight. Like Kris says, it’s been a bad season for crashes – we’ve had two in hospital at Hasselt alone.

There’s a bit of glamour been added to proceedings – the Lotto ladies team is being presented. I don’t know how good they are, but they certainly look nice.

Derny time, Marc is up, Franco is napping in the cabin.

Lotto Zesdaagse van Hasselt 2007
The cabins at Hasselt don’t face out towards the spectators like they do in most sixes – here, the riders get just a little more privacy between events.

Marc’s derny broke down, but they have a spare – much to Marc’s disappointment; “it hurt more winding back-up to speed!”
We just had a visit from the derny driver – what actually happened was that the saddle on the derny broke, scary at 60 kph at the top of the banking.

Derny heat two and Franco is up, he doesn’t like the dernys and hopefully he’ll finish fourth or worse so he won’t make the final.

That’s the last race and if he doesn’t make it then we’ll get finished early

Stam is leading just now but Keisse will win – “for sure” as we say here in Euro-land.

I got that Iljo win right and Franco was fourth – ideal! ‘How were you feeling in that derny, Franco?” “Let’s not talk about it!”

Flying lap time – De Ketele/Schets – 10.85. Risi/Marvuli – EXACT same time. Aeschbach/De Fauw – 10.51, one hundredth away from his own track record.

Madison-time, we’ve hardly started when De Ketele and De Fauw come-down at the exact same spot as Hester last night.

De Ketele bounces-up but De Fauw is slow to rise and immediately, the race is neutralised. Re-start – the pace is fast but processional, a nervous bunch; anyone coming off line, even a little, gets a bawling.

With just under 10 minutes to go, Bruno shows why he’s the finest six-day rider alive. He attacks, opening a huge gap, Franco spells-him, Bruno goes back-in and the lap is taken – impressive. Keisse/Villa win, to no one’s surprise.

Trivia for the day; whilst Franco uses pukka Assos chamois cream – the Swiss clothing company is one of his sponsors – many of the others, including Bruno, Slippens and Stam use a Vaseline-like substance which is used to lubricate cow’s udders when a milking-machine is used. Strange, but true – it’s actually a bit thin for the job, that’s why six-day riders saddles are always slippery.

Two races to go, the “super-sprint” and the derny final – so that’s just one race for us. All the big teams go out early and the minnows fight it out.

Marc and Gerd get second, the Kiwi is a different rider from Thursday night. The dernys are roaring in my ear as I lug the kit over the bridge.
The announcer draws-out the winner’s name as the gun fires; “‘El-ee-o-ki-sah!”

Now there’s a surprise! Just two days to go.