Susie, my chow chow would love these meat balls; cold, greasy, smelly with around one percent meat content; it’s a pity she’s not here at the Copenhagen Six Day – but think how awful it would be if she bit Danny Stam.

Dinner time at the restaurant; day one the food was cool, but as the week goes on, the menu refuses to budge and the temperature of the food drops; ‘not good for riders to eat cold pasta,’ says Ronnie our number two soigneur.

Ronnie saves the day; he’s been ‘making massage’ to the guy who owns the restaurant and a gorgeous pizza arrives for him, of which I get half — those Belgian guys aren’t all bad.

Day five in Copenhagen, the food may be getting colder but the racing is getting hotter.The biggest race on the card is the 75 kilometre handicap chase; where the big teams give away up to six laps on the little teams.

Copenhagen Six Day
Ronnie.

But that’s not ‘til 22.30; there’s a lot to do before then.

Exile and the O’jays take me through my helmet and shoe cleaning routine; Franco has a MET helmet and Northwave shoes, Alex and Michael are co-ordinated (you’d expect nothing less from two of Bjarne’s boys) on Bell helmets and Specialized shoes(with ‘wind-up’ wire closure system — cool) and Jens-Erik is with MET and Shimano.

Jens-Erik said to me yesterday; ’Ed, what are these wipes for?’ ‘I use them to clean your helmet and shoes, every day Jens.

Really!’ he replied; being a runner is just like being a housewife, no one appreciates you.

Copenhagen Six Day
Franco messes around while the amateurs race.

Franco arrives to read, text and Skype from the trackside cabin, he doesn’t like the claustrophobia of the main cabin, which is below the track; I know what he means, the air down there is heavy and stale. If he wants to chat, that’s cool, but if he’s thoughtful, I just work round him and give him peace.

Should I train or have a sleep, Ed?’ ‘Do a few laps Franco, loosen the legs off.

He laps the track with Michael Mørkøv’s brother, Jesper who is also riding the six — more on him later.

Copenhagen Six Day
Tony Doyle (23) and Patrick Sercu (88) – 111 six wins between them!

It’s ‘Mini-Six’ time and the track has to be cleared to allow the stars of the future to do their thing — legs whirl at a furious rate on restricted gears and the hand slings are better than any I’ve ever given.

Copenhagen Six Day
Keeping an eye on the young ‘uns, Franco shoots the breeze with his fellow pro’s.

The music is great, 60’s and 70’s pop; ‘Chicory Tip’ with ‘Son of my Father,’ jeez, I haven’t heard that in ages, the first UK number one to feature a synthesiser, written by Giorgio Moroder – I wish I had a recycle bin in my head!

UIV Cup time; that’s the sixes for the Under-23 riders. Back in the 70’s we used to watch the amateur sixes at Gent; it was like a more violent version of Rollerball — Maurice Burton’s backside spent more time on the boards than it did in the saddle.

Copenhagen Six Day
Mini-six winners.

If you’ve ever wondered how agents do their job of finding young talent; there’s ex-Tour of Flanders winner Rolf Sørensen trackside, encouraging the young Danes.

The Danish media re going crazy with Alex and Michael; today they were even filming them putting their shoes on.

Copenhagen Six Day
Alex and Michael can’t really relax – their every move is captured by Danish TV.

There’s Bruno; he skips up the stairs, he’s recovered from that virus he had — one look tells me that.

Patrick Sercu has arrived, there must be deals to be done, that cell phone is a fixture on his ear; when I was a boy he was my idol.

I saw him once in a nocturne (night criterium, under the street lights) in Concarneau; he had on matching black and white patent leather shoes and helmet, Brooklyn shorts and his recently acquired Tour de France green jersey, astride his sparkling blue Gios Torino he was the closest thing I’ve ever seen to a God.

Copenhagen Six Day
Patrick Sercu makes another deal – the closest thing Ed’s ever seen to a God.

Flying lap time and Dirk slides the rear discs into Michael’s Principia and Alex’s Pinarello — Dirk tells me that the rear fork ends on the Pinarellos are so hard that it’s difficult to get the track nuts to bite; he has to rough them with a file.

Jacob Moe comes in, his mechanic is AWOL and he puts his hand out for me to pull him to a stop; with some soigneurs this is seen as bad protocol — they think you’re trying to poach their rider.

Schep/Stam get 13.43 for the lap, Marvulli/Risi 13.40 — yes, Bruno’s better tonight.

Alex and Michael are up and rolling for their turn earlier than usual — that’s a good sign. And the watch confirms it with 13.01 — more flowers.

Tayeb Braikia, who is one of the race officials drops in to congratulate his countrymen, Tayeb won this six in 1999, he was a Danish champion on road and track; winning road races in the US, Scandinavia and Europe, including the GC of the Circuit Franco Belge.

Copenhagen Six Day
l to r: Alex, Tayeb Brakia, and Michael.

The Ballerup Gran Prix is next; a knock out sprint series. Franco goes down to home boy Mark Hester, who’s quick, but not Franco quick. Hester milks the applause as Franco flashes me a wink from the banking.

Interview time and I wander round to see Daniel “Born in the USA” Holloway and his Garmin team mate Colby Pearce — cool guys and their words will be on Pez soon.

Copenhagen Six Day
Daniel “Born in the USA” Holloway and Colby Pearce.

Sebastián Donadi­o the Six Day man-cum-singer from Argentina comes to see me, he wants my pictures for his Facebook page; ‘no problem, Sebastian.

Copenhagen Six Day
Sebastián Donadio.

There’s a Madison behind the derny; Alex and Michael cruise to the win.

Balustrade sprint time and it’s Tim Mertens who leads the string as; ‘almost heaven, West Virginia’ pumps out; Tim isn’t bad, but he’s not Daniel Holloway.

Copenhagen Six Day
Tim Mertens leads the black number riders Balustrade sprint.

Next up, it’s the man from North Ca. himself, leading the entire field high on the bankings; getting Brian May’s guitar solo in ‘We will rock you,’ down to a ‘tee,’ behind him riders clap, but no one else tries to handle the Stratocaster.

Copenhagen Six Day
Søren Lilholt – GPE3 winner. Respect

It’s almost chase time; but there’s Søren Lilholt and it’s not every day you meet a GPE3 winner; ‘…but you want to know how I win, Ed?

Yes, of course, Søren!’ I reply, like a school kid, completely forgetting that three of the world’s best six day riders are supposed to be the focus of my attention. ‘There are 12 of us in the final, I can beat them all in the sprint, I know it, but I take no chances and jump them, riding alone, winning on my own.

Kris gently reminds me that we’ve got a 75 kilometre Madison about to start; I shake hands with Søren and wish him well.

The E3 wasn’t his only big win; he was world junior road race champion in 1983, won the Tour of Luxembourg, Route Adelie, Danish pro road championship and a stage in Paris Nice.

Copenhagen Six Day
Eddy the mechanic.

‘Cara Mia’ blasts; ‘…darling you’ll be mine, ‘til the eeennd of time!’ wails Tony Christie – the lap board is more pragmatic; ‘300 laps,’ is all it has to say.

Most sixes run chases over a maximum one hour, this one will be closer to one-and-a-half hours; and there’s a catch — the big teams are ‘giving away’ up to six laps on the small teams.

The capo should pull this back, but they have to race for it; there’s no settling in, Marvulli/Risi, Stam/Schep, Rasmussen/Mørkøv and de Ketele/Mertens set about the job from the gun. Franco and Bruno in particular look great — like overall winners, maybe.

It’s not that the little teams go out of the back, they just don’t have the engines to take lap gains and their lead slides like ‘snow off a dyke,’ as we say in Scotland.

Copenhagen Six Day
Rolf Sørensen gets involved in events!

What’s supposed to happen in the script is that the head boys snuff out the advantage towards the end and fight it out among themselves; but Jesper Mørkøv and his Austrian partner, Andreas Muller haven’t read that page.

There’s a lull and ‘Mini Mørkøv’ attacks. The big teams think, ‘what the ?

Big brother, Michael just happens to be on Jesper’s wheel and swings up, the gap opens, the crowd is on it’s feet. The big guns think, ‘this is good for the show,’ and let them take the lap — they know that the youngsters have no chance in the sprint.

The organiser isn’t happy and tells Kris that Michael should have shut his brother down; maybe he was an only child?

Risi is riding like a scalded Swiss polecat tonight, there’s now way they’ll loose this one.

Copenhagen Six Day
Chaos.

I can’t take many notes, the guys are thirsty and I spend the night making energy drink, filling bottles then retrieving them from the far reaches of the track, where most of the guys discard them.

The real pros stick the empty bottle into the back of their shorts then drop it back with us a lap or two later; unfortunately our thirstiest guys, Alex and Franco don’t stick to that rule.

It could be worse; a few years ago I was looking after the New Zealand team pursuiter, Marc Ryan in his first six at Hasselt six in Belgium. During the first chase, all the bottles disappeared; ‘Marc,’ I said, ‘what are you doing with those bottles?’ ‘I’ve just been lobbing ‘em into the crowd, mate, isn’t that what you do?

Iggy Pop blasts, ‘Real Wild Child’ — he must have seen Franco; the big Swiss is rampant and makes the sprint look easy.

Flowers and a pretty girl to present them; what more could a six day man want?

Copenhagen Six Day
Franco & Bruno, winners of the 75 kilometre madison chase – just another part of the six day riders’ job.

Money! I hear you say — that’s tomorrow, until then, ciao,ciao.

But, as a Colombo used to say, ‘Just one more ‘ting, sir.

Copenhagen Six Day
Big Bob Bartko.

As the boys sit in the cabin and I try to make sense of the piles of washing, the broad figure of Robert Bartko stalks in; there’s a little hush and we all think, uh!oh!

The big German goes over to where Madison hero Jesper is sitting, pats him on the back and gaves him a nod; Jesper is surprised, but his day is made.

Respect, Robert.

Results

A-consult sprint
1 Alexander Aeschbach (Swi) / Jens-Erik Madsen (Den)  5 pts
2 Kenny De Ketele / Tim Mertens (Bel)  3
3 Christian Grasmann (Ger) / Daniel Kreutzfeldt (Den)  2
4 Alex Rasmussen / Michael Mørkøv (Den)  1
5 Bruno Risi / Franco Marvulli (Swi)
6 Robert Bartko / Leif Lampater (Ger)
7 Matthé Pronk (Ned) / Mads Bugge (Den)
8 Sebastian Donadio / Dario Collo (Arg)
9 Angelo Ciccone / Samuele Marzoli (Ita)
10 Michael Smith Larsen / Michael Berling (Den)
11 Colby Pearce / Daniel Holloway (USA)
12 Luke Roberts (Aus) / Jacob Moe (Den)
13 Danny Stam / Peter Schep (Ned)
14 Leon van Bon (Ned) / Marc Hester (Den)
15 Andreas Müller (Aut) / Jesper Mørkøv (Den)

Siemens sprint
1 Luke Roberts (Aus) / Jacob Moe (Den)  5 pts
2 Sebastian Donadio / Dario Collo (Arg)  3
3 Leon van Bon (Ned) / Marc Hester (Den)  2
4 Bruno Risi / Franco Marvulli (Swi)  1
5 Robert Bartko / Leif Lampater (Ger)
6 Matthé Pronk (Ned) / Mads Bugge (Den)
7 Angelo Ciccone / Samuele Marzoli (Ita)
8 Michael Smith Larsen / Michael Berling (Den)
9 Alex Rasmussen / Michael Mørkøv (Den)
10 Kenny De Ketele / Tim Mertens (Bel)
11 Alexander Aeschbach (Swi) / Jens-Erik Madsen (Den)
12 Colby Pearce / Daniel Holloway (USA)
13 Danny Stam / Peter Schep (Ned)
14 Andreas Müller (Aut) / Jesper Mørkøv (Den)
15 Christian Grasmann (Ger) / Daniel Kreutzfeldt (Den)

Dansbo sprint
1 Kenny De Ketele / Tim Mertens (Bel):  5 pts
2 Robert Bartko / Leif Lampater (Ger):  3
3 Colby Pearce / Daniel Holloway (USA):  2
4 Christian Grasmann (Ger) / Daniel Kreutzfeldt (Den):  1
5 Bruno Risi / Franco Marvulli (Swi)
6 Matthé Pronk (Ned) / Mads Bugge (Den)
7 Sebastian Donadio / Dario Collo (Arg)
8 Angelo Ciccone / Samuele Marzoli (Ita)
9 Michael Smith Larsen / Michael Berling (Den)
10 Alex Rasmussen / Michael Mørkøv (Den)
11 Alexander Aeschbach (Swi) / Jens-Erik Madsen (Den)
12 Luke Roberts (Aus) / Jacob Moe (Den)
13 Danny Stam / Peter Schep (Ned)
14 Leon van Bon (Ned) / Marc Hester (Den)
15 Andreas Müller (Aut) / Jesper Mørkøv (Den)

Claus Dalsgaard sprint
1 Andreas Müller (Aut) / Jesper Mørkøv (Den):  5 pts
2 Michael Smith Larsen / Michael Berling (Den):  3
3 Angelo Ciccone / Samuele Marzoli (Ita):  2
4 Matthé Pronk (Ned) / Mads Bugge (Den):  1
5 Bruno Risi / Franco Marvulli (Swi)
6 Robert Bartko / Leif Lampater (Ger)
7 Sebastian Donadio / Dario Collo (Arg)
8 Alex Rasmussen / Michael Mørkøv (Den)
9 Kenny De Ketele / Tim Mertens (Bel)
10 Alexander Aeschbach (Swi) / Jens-Erik Madsen (Den)
11 Colby Pearce / Daniel Holloway (USA)
12 Luke Roberts (Aus) / Jacob Moe (Den)
13 Danny Stam / Peter Schep (Ned)
14 Leon van Bon (Ned) / Marc Hester (Den)
15 Christian Grasmann (Ger) / Daniel Kreutzfeldt (Den)

Mermaid sprint
1 Bruno Risi / Franco Marvulli (Swi):  5 pts
2 Leon van Bon (Ned) / Marc Hester (Den):  3
3 Sebastian Donadio / Dario Collo (Arg):  2
4 Colby Pearce / Daniel Holloway (USA):  1
5 Robert Bartko / Leif Lampater (Ger)
6 Matthé Pronk (Ned) / Mads Bugge (Den)
7 Angelo Ciccone / Samuele Marzoli (Ita)
8 Michael Smith Larsen / Michael Berling (Den)
9 Alex Rasmussen / Michael Mørkøv (Den)
10 Kenny De Ketele / Tim Mertens (Bel)
11 Alexander Aeschbach (Swi) / Jens-Erik Madsen (Den)
12 Luke Roberts (Aus) / Jacob Moe (Den)
13 Danny Stam / Peter Schep (Ned)
14 Andreas Müller (Aut) / Jesper Mørkøv (Den)
15 Christian Grasmann (Ger) / Daniel Kreutzfeldt (Den)

Lap record time trial
1 Alex Rasmussen / Michael Mørkøv (Den):  10 pts:  13.054

2 Robert Bartko / Leif Lampater (Ger):  6: 13.153
3 Luke Roberts (Aus) / Jacob Moe (Den):  5: 13.171
4 Bruno Risi / Franco Marvulli (Swi):  4: 13.406
5 Alexander Aeschbach (Swi) / Jens-Erik Madsen (Den):  3: 13.421
6 Sebastian Donadio / Dario Collo (Arg):  2: 13.435
7 Danny Stam / Peter Schep (Ned):  13.438
8 Christian Grasmann (Ger) / Daniel Kreutzfeldt (Den):  13.507
9 Angelo Ciccone / Samuele Marzoli (Ita):  13.559
10 Kenny De Ketele / Tim Mertens (Bel):  13.659
11 Colby Pearce / Daniel Holloway (USA):  13.709
12 Leon van Bon (Ned) / Marc Hester (Den):  13.760
13 Michael Smith Larsen / Michael Berling (Den):  14.023
14 Andreas Müller (Aut) / Jesper Mørkøv (Den):  14.226
15 Matthé Pronk (Ned) / Mads Bugge (Den):  14.434

Derny Grand Prix final
1 Alex Rasmussen / Michael Mørkøv (Den):  15 pts
2 Robert Bartko / Leif Lampater (Ger):  10
3 Danny Stam / Peter Schep (Ned):  8
4 Bruno Risi / Franco Marvulli (Swi):  6
5 Matthé Pronk (Ned) / Mads Bugge (Den):  4
6 Luke Roberts (Aus) / Jacob Moe (Den):  2
7 Sebastian Donadio / Dario Collo (Arg)
8 Angelo Ciccone / Samuele Marzoli (Ita)
9 Michael Smith Larsen / Michael Berling (Den)
10 Kenny De Ketele / Tim Mertens (Bel)
11 Alexander Aeschbach (Swi) / Jens-Erik Madsen (Den)
12 Colby Pearce / Daniel Holloway (USA)
13 Leon van Bon (Ned) / Marc Hester (Den)
14 Andreas Müller (Aut) / Jesper Mørkøv (Den)
15 Christian Grasmann (Ger) / Daniel Kreutzfeldt (Den)

Blomberg sprint
1 Andreas Müller (Aut) / Jesper Mørkøv (Den):  5 pts
2 Sebastian Donadio / Dario Collo (Arg):  3
3 Michael Smith Larsen / Michael Berling (Den):  2
4 Christian Grasmann (Ger) / Daniel Kreutzfeldt (Den) : 1
5 Bruno Risi / Franco Marvulli (Swi)
6 Robert Bartko / Leif Lampater (Ger)
7 Matthé Pronk (Ned) / Mads Bugge (Den)
8 Angelo Ciccone / Samuele Marzoli (Ita)
9 Alex Rasmussen / Michael Mørkøv (Den)
10 Kenny De Ketele / Tim Mertens (Bel)
11 Alexander Aeschbach (Swi) / Jens-Erik Madsen (Den)
12 Colby Pearce / Daniel Holloway (USA)
13 Luke Roberts (Aus) / Jacob Moe (Den)
14 Danny Stam / Peter Schep (Ned)
15 Leon van Bon (Ned) / Marc Hester (Den)

Bühring & Johansen sprint
1 Angelo Ciccone / Samuele Marzoli (Ita):  5 pts
2 Alexander Aeschbach (Swi) / Jens-Erik Madsen (Den):  3
3 Kenny De Ketele / Tim Mertens (Bel):  2
4 Matthé Pronk (Ned) / Mads Bugge (Den): 1
5 Bruno Risi / Franco Marvulli (Swi)
6 Robert Bartko / Leif Lampater (Ger)
7 Sebastian Donadio / Dario Collo (Arg)
8 Michael Smith Larsen / Michael Berling (Den)
9 Alex Rasmussen / Michael Mørkøv (Den)
10 Colby Pearce / Daniel Holloway (USA)
11 Luke Roberts (Aus) / Jacob Moe (Den)
12 Danny Stam / Peter Schep (Ned)
13 Leon van Bon (Ned) / Marc Hester (Den)
14 Andreas Müller (Aut) / Jesper Mørkøv (Den)
15 Christian Grasmann (Ger) / Daniel Kreutzfeldt (Den)

500m time trial
1 Robert Bartko / Leif Lampater (Ger):  0.27.567
2 Alex Rasmussen / Michael Mørkøv (Den):  0.27.678
3 Alexander Aeschbach (Swi) / Jens-Erik Madsen (Den):  0.28.283
4 Luke Roberts (Aus) / Jacob Moe (Den):  0.28.718
5 Angelo Ciccone / Samuele Marzoli (Ita):  0.28.746
6 Christian Grasmann (Ger) / Daniel Kreutzfeldt (Den):  0.28.817
7 Kenny De Ketele / Tim Mertens (Bel):  0.29.207
8 Bruno Risi / Franco Marvulli (Swi): 0.29.328
9 Colby Pearce / Daniel Holloway (USA):  0.29.424
10 Andreas Müller (Aut) / Jesper Mørkøv (Den):  0.29.801
11 Michael Smith Larsen / Michael Berling (Den):  0.30.199
12 Matthé Pronk (Ned) / Mads Bugge (Den):  0.30.250
13 Danny Stam / Peter Schep (Ned):  0.31.566

Heino sprint
1 Bruno Risi / Franco Marvulli (Swi):  10 pts
2 Sebastian Donadio / Dario Collo (Arg):  6
3 Alexander Aeschbach (Swi) / Jens-Erik Madsen (Den) : 5
4 Christian Grasmann (Ger) / Daniel Kreutzfeldt (Den) : 4
5 Michael Smith Larsen / Michael Berling (Den):  3
6 Kenny De Ketele / Tim Mertens (Bel): 2
7 Robert Bartko / Leif Lampater (Ger)
8 Matthé Pronk (Ned) / Mads Bugge (Den)
9 Angelo Ciccone / Samuele Marzoli (Ita)
10 Alex Rasmussen / Michael Mørkøv (Den)
11 Colby Pearce / Daniel Holloway (USA)
12 Luke Roberts (Aus) / Jacob Moe (Den)
13 Danny Stam / Peter Schep (Ned)
14 Leon van Bon (Ned) / Marc Hester (Den)
15 Andreas Müller (Aut) / Jesper Mørkøv (Den)

75km handicap race
1 Bruno Risi / Franco Marvulli (Swi): 20 pts
2 Alex Rasmussen / Michael Mørkøv (Den):  12
3 Danny Stam / Peter Schep (Ned):  10
4 Andreas Müller (Aut) / Jesper Mørkøv (Den):  8
5 Christian Grasmann (Ger) / Daniel Kreutzfeldt (Den):  6
6 Robert Bartko / Leif Lampater (Ger):  4
7 Luke Roberts (Aus) / Jacob Moe (Den):  2
8 Michael Smith Larsen / Michael Berling (Den)
9 Angelo Ciccone / Samuele Marzoli (Ita)
10 Leon van Bon (Ned) / Marc Hester (Den)
11 Kenny De Ketele / Tim Mertens (Bel)
12 Colby Pearce / Daniel Holloway (USA)
13 Sebastian Donadio / Dario Collo (Arg)
14 Matthé Pronk (Ned) / Mads Bugge (Den)
15 Alexander Aeschbach (Swi) / Jens-Erik Madsen (Den)

Standings after fifth night
1 Danny Stam / Peter Schep (Ned):  136 pts

One lap behind
2 Alex Rasmussen / Michael Mørkøv (Den):  199
3 Bruno Risi / Franco Marvulli (Swi):  179

Three laps behind
4 Robert Bartko / Leif Lampater (Ger):  169

Five laps behind
5 Kenny De Ketele / Tim Mertens (Bel):  143

Eight laps behind
6 Luke Roberts (Aus) / Jacob Moe (Den):  156
7 Christian Grasmann (Ger) / Daniel Kreutzfeldt (Den):  110

Twelve laps behind
8 Leon van Bon (Ned) / Marc Hester (Den):  118

Thirteen laps behind
9 Alexander Aeschbach (Swi) / Jens-Erik Madsen (Den):  101

Seventeen laps behind
10 Colby Pearce / Daniel Holloway (USA):  63

Twenty laps behind
11 Angelo Ciccone / Samuele Marzoli (Ita):  76
12 Matthé Pronk (Ned) / Mads Bugge (Den):  64

Twenty-four laps behind
13 Andreas Müller (Aut) / Jesper Mørkøv (Den):  91

Twenty-Six laps behind
14 Michael Smith Larsen / Michael Berling (Den):  89

Thirty-five laps behind
15 Sebastian Donadio / Dario Collo (Arg): 68