“It’s not a real Six,” says our pal Viktor – coincidentally, riders like Marc Hester (Denmark) and Danny Stam (Holland) used to say the same. But that was before the Munich Six disappeared – now they’re more than happy to head south to Grenoble at the end of October. As have we, for the Grenoble Six Day 2010…

“Real” Six or not, the list of winners is pretty damn impressive – Post, Merckx, Sercu, Moser, Doyle, Clark, Baffi, Villa, Marvulli, Gilmore, Keisse, Rasmussen and Morkov.

Grenoble Six Day 2010
It’s Grenoble Six Day time again!

I can’t remember how many times I’ve been here, but it’s never disappointing to drive down the valley road between the limestone cliffs and snow capped peaks beyond, to the ‘Capital of the Alps.’

Grenoble Six Day 2010
Ed’s favourite bar in Grenoble.
Grenoble Six Day 2010
What’s a bar without a pizzeria nearby?

Bar Clemenceau is still there and so is the Pizzeria Du Vel D’Hiv – ‘Pizzeria of the Winter Track.

The stadium – Velodrome des Alpes – is spectacular, concrete shells sweep to the sky and look like they belong among the jagged peaks which ring the city.

Grenoble Six Day 2010
Now that’s what we call a velodrome.
Grenoble Six Day 2010
It’s spectacular down here. (click for the full image)

Every year the guy on the gate tells us; ‘you’re not on the list,’ and we have to summon Laurent Biondi get us in.

Grenoble Six Day 2010
Our annual ID check!
Grenoble Six Day 2010
But it’s okay – we’re allowed through to the track entrance.

We haven’t got our usual cabin; we’re in the one next door, it was Iljo’s cabin last year – where he celebrated “getting off” with his ‘contaminated food’ defence, the ‘Iljo’ sticker is still on the shelf.

Grenoble Six Day 2010
Iljo’s sticker is still on the cabin wall.

The trouble is that the celebration was a year too early – his image is in the programme.

But Kenny de Ketele rides with Tim Mertens, not Iljo.

We have just two riders, this year – Franco Marvulli and Jens-Erik Madsen.

Grenoble Six Day 2010
Our riders this year.
Grenoble Six Day 2010
`Franco is such a classy rider, but also loves a good laugh.

Jens-Erik was one of the winning Danish team pursuit squad at the 2009 Worlds – he’s strong, smooth and fast.

Grenoble Six Day 2010
Jens-Erik warming up.

Franco rides with Alexander Aeschbach; a man who has partnered him to four of his five wins here – Aussie team pursuiter, Luke Roberts was the man who paired him to number five.

Grenoble Six Day 2010
Luke raced for German team Milram. Photo©Ed Hood

The main opposition comes from Dutchman Leon Van Bon – who has re-invented himself as a Six Day rider – partnered with compatriot and 15 times a Six Day winner, Danny Stam.

Grenoble Six Day 2010
Danny will be with Leon this week.

The sprinters’ field is very strong – world champion, Gregory Bauge; world record holder, Kevin Sireau; world kilo champion, Teun Mulder and Commonwealth Games sprint king, Shane Perkins.

The TV cameras are in place, the band are rehearsing hard [they need to] and the list of winners has been up dated.

Grenoble Six Day 2010
The house band practice some more.

We’ve got our creds, the cabin is set up – all we need are some riders.

They’ll be here tomorrow; bon nuit, mes amis, a demain.

Grenoble Six Day 2010
See you tomorrow, for the first day’s race action!