Franco Marvulli, twice world madison and scratch champion, four times winner of the Grenoble Six Day and a winner of 25 Sixes in total; Jens-Erik Madsen, world team pursuit champion; Luke Roberts, multiple world team pursuit champion; Iljo Keisse, kermesse star and winner of 11 Six Days; Leon Van Bon, twice Dutch pro road champion and a Tour and Vuelta stage winner – that’s not a bad list for starters.

But I wouldn’t fancy being one of the humble home boys being tee-ed up for mega brutalisation.

Grenoble Six Day 2009
The view from the stadium – we’re here at last.

It was a long day to get here, up at 04:00 to try and sort out all the ‘real world’ orders and emails, bus to the airport bus, airport bus, check in, security, but not a bad flying experience – maybe it’s just me, but Easyjet seems a lot less ‘animal’ than Ryanair.

Geneva, and the Swiss had us through customs in a couple of minutes; if that was Beauvais, I’d still be there!

Grenoble Six Day 2009
Race poster.

Kris was waiting for me at Geneva; the weather was glorious, the leaves beautifully on the turn, the mountains imposing – a fabulous run to Grenoble.

If only I didn’t have all those phone calls – anyway…

Grenoble Six Day 2009
Home for the next week.

The Stadium is very impressive, concrete ‘birds wing’ forms sail up into the sky – with the spiky peaks in the background it’s a great venue.

The race doesn’t start until tomorrow – most Sixes run Thursday to Tuesday.

The first job is to lug all the paraphernalia down to the cabin, microwave, kettles, cooking stuff, food, massage stuff, blankets, pillows, pails washing machine etc. etc.

Although, Amsterdam was Monday to Saturday; that’s the original format – avoiding the Sabbath, the day of rest.

Gent runs Tuesday to Sunday, with a tea time finish – that’s not a bad format, either.

Grenoble Six Day 2009
The impressive facade.

The main men on the organisation at Grenoble have famous names, twice Tour de France winner, Bernard Thevenet and former world pro points champion, Laurent Biondi – hand shakes all round.

Grenoble Six Day 2009
The kitchen staff get ready for the onslaught.

The day before a Six is the clichéd “calm before the storm” – guys like us carting stuff in, mechanics arriving, the cooks doing prep, the cabaret artists rehearsing, the sparkies feeding cables, the cleaners scurrying around… a good buzz, expectant.

Dinner was a pizza, then back to the camper – we used to sleep in the cabins under the track, but the Stadium’s insurance company veto-ed that – and there’s no hotels for the workers.

I turned in at 9:00 pm and slept ’til 8:00 am – I think I might have been tired!

Au demain!

Grenoble Six Day 2009
Stunning.