Dirk, you’re working on the bikes early today,” says me at the Grenoble Six Day.

Yes, I must finish early so I can watch the darts on BBC TV in my camper van!

I didn’t expect that answer.

He was telling me that the new Look 496 track frame costs in excess of €6,000 and there’s a waiting list; they only build to order.

They are beautiful though and as Dirk says; ‘it’s the best bike for the sprint and it’s a genuine European product.

If you like track bikes, you'll love this.
If you like track bikes, you’ll love this. (click for the full image)
Beautiful workmanship, and finishing.
Beautiful workmanship, and finishing. (click for the full image)
One day, all bike steerers will be made this way. Maybe.
One day, all bike steerers will be made this way. Maybe. (click for the full image)

It’s cool and grey in Grenoble today – and very quiet.

Sunday means that Bar Clemenceau is shut, so no afternoon beer for Ed; and my chum over at the bakers reminded me that he’s shut tomorrow – he does that every year.

Grenoble was a bit grey today.
Grenoble was a bit grey today. (click for the full image)
More glasses required - the bars outside are shut!
More glasses required – the bars outside are shut!

The crowd could go either way tonight – it’s hard to say; but the price for a place at the track centre tables has been brought down from 63 to 48 Euros.

If you're actually into the racing, you can get pretty close to the riders.
If you’re actually into the racing, you can get pretty close to the riders. (click for the full image)

That’s not a bad deal, that gets you in and gives you a table place complete with all food, mineral water, wine and coffee.

Magicians and balloon sculptors will impress/annoy you as you dine, there’s the circus acts, the singers, the Folies girls, the sprinters – and, as a bonus, a six day race.

A different balloon seller from last night. Must be good business here.
A different balloon seller from last night. Must be good business here.
But the crazy band are the same.
But the crazy band are the same. (click for the full image)

In the middle of the afternoon, Dan Fleeman rang to say he’d won the British hill climb championship, again – that was a nice boost for the moral.

Dan during last winter, when he had just signed with Raleigh.
Dan during last winter, when he had just signed with Raleigh.

I decided I’d better get organised and do some interviews.

Danny and Jens-Erik check out the events for the evening.
Danny and Jens-Erik check out the events for the evening. (click for the full image)
And here's what they'll be doing.
And here’s what they’ll be doing. (click for the full image)

I’d made an arrangement to do an email interview with Elia Viviani but he didn’t get back to me – sometimes that happens, usually because of translation hassles.

But in true Mountie tradition, ‘I got my man!’

His English isn’t the best and my Italian is restricted to a few words so Franco did the honours – my boss speaks English, Italian, German, French, Spanish and the Italian dialect spoken in Puglia.

As well as that, is tall, dark and handsome – and is the World’s best six day man. Some boys have all the luck.

Franco and Alex are on the same lap as the leaders, but are riding "at 80%" just now.
Franco and Alex are on the same lap as the leaders, but are riding “at 80%” just now. (click for the full image)
Elia is only young, but can learn nothing about coolness.
Elia is only young, but can learn nothing about coolness. (click for the full image)

Anyway – Viviani is cool, super cool and quick; you can see it here, his accelerations are savage and the last two nights his team has won the three lap time trial – where the six day team are joined by a sprinter, who does the last lap.

Elia and partner Angelo Ciccone are lying second at the moment.
Elia and partner Angelo Ciccone are lying second at the moment. (click for the full image)

The other rider I interviewed today was Commonwealth Games sprint champion, Shane Perkins – if all the cyclists in the world were Aussies then being a cycling journo would be much less like pulling teeth.

Shane is more focused as he matures.
Shane is more focused as he matures. (click for the full image)

Open, easy to talk to and good fun – with his ‘wild man’ days behind him, he says.

Shane is aiming for the London Olympics.
Shane is aiming for the London Olympics. (click for the full image)

The night was a good one, the track centre was packed, the racing was good and the ambiance was excellent; there were smiles all round – from ‘speaker’ Daniel Mangeas and even Big Boss of the show, Guy Chanal.

Speaker Daniel Mangeas will be familiar to anyone who's been to a Tour de France stage start or finish.
Speaker Daniel Mangeas will be familiar to anyone who’s been to a Tour de France stage start or finish.
Guy was happy to stop working for a moment and chat.
Guy was happy to stop working for a moment and chat.
The Road Legend Bernard Thevenet is one of the organisers.
The Road Legend Bernard Thevenet is one of the organisers. (click for the full image)

Good fun, good racing, good morale, the best bread, the best rider to look after – can’t complain, a demain.

Results

Points race

1 Angelo Ciccone / Elia Viviani (Ita) 9 pts
2 Mickael Jeannin / Morgan Kneisky (Fra) 9
3 Kevin Fouache / Jules Pijourlet (Fra) 8
4 Alexander Aeschbach / Franco Marvulli (Swi) 7
5 Wim Stroetinga / Jeff Vermeulen (Ned) 7
6 Tim Mertens / Kenny de Ketele (Bel) 6
7 Jens-Erik Madsen / Marc Hester (Den) 5
8 Pierre-Luc Perichon / Sebastien Ivars (Fra) 5
9 Francois Lamiraud / Florent Ivars (Fra) 4
10 Danny Stam / Leon Van Bon (Ned) 3
11 Jiri Hochmann / Milan Kadlec (Cze) 3

Madison

1 Angelo Ciccone / Elia Viviani (Ita) 20 pts
2 Alexander Aeschbach / Franco Marvulli (Swi) 12
At 1 Lap
3 Danny Stam / Leon Van Bon (Ned) 10
4 Jens-Erik Madsen / Marc Hester (Den) 8
5 Tim Mertens / Kenny de Ketele (Bel) 6
6 Mickael Jeannin / Morgan Kneisky (Fra) 4
7 Wim Stroetinga / Jeff Vermeulen (Ned)
8 Jiri Hochmann / Milan Kadlec (Cze)
At 2 Laps
9 Francois Lamiraud / Florent Ivars (Fra)
10 Pierre-Luc Perichon / Sebastien Ivars (Fra)
11 Kevin Fouache / Jules Pijourlet (Fra)

Team time trial

1 Angelo Ciccone / Elia Viviani (Ita) 35.112
2 Mickael Jeannin / Morgan Kneisky (Fra) 35.330
3 Tim Mertens / Kenny de Ketele (Bel) 35.549
4 Alexander Aeschbach / Franco Marvulli (Swi) 36.098
5 Francois Lamiraud / Florent Ivars (Fra) 36.373
6 Kevin Fouache / Jules Pijourlet (Fra) 36.648
7 Danny Stam / Leon Van Bon (Ned) 36.752

Defi Doublette

1 Tim Mertens / Kenny de Ketele (Bel) 20 pts
2 Alexander Aeschbach / Franco Marvulli (Swi) 12
3 Danny Stam / Leon Van Bon (Ned) 10
4 Jens-Erik Madsen / Marc Hester (Den) 8
5 Angelo Ciccone / Elia Viviani (Ita) 6
At 1 Lap
6 Mickael Jeannin / Morgan Kneisky (Fra) 4
7 Jiri Hochmann / Milan Kadlec (Cze)
8 Wim Stroetinga / Jeff Vermeulen (Ned)
9 Pierre-Luc Perichon / Sebastien Ivars (Fra)
10 Francois Lamiraud / Florent Ivars (Fra)
11 Kevin Fouache / Jules Pijourlet (Fra)

Elimination black numbers

1 Milan Kadlec 10 pts
2 Leon Van Bon 6
3 Elia Viviani 5
4 Marc Hester 4
5 Jeff Vermeulen 3
6 Jules Pijourlet 2
7 Kenny De Ketele
8 Sebastien Ivars
9 Franco Marvulli
10 Morgan Kneisky
11 Florent Ivars

Scratch race

1 Danny Stam / Leon Van Bon (Ned) 20 pts
2 Tim Mertens / Kenny de Ketele (Bel) 12
3 Jens-Erik Madsen / Marc Hester (Den) 10
4 Jiri Hochmann / Milan Kadlec (Cze) 8
5 Alexander Aeschbach / Franco Marvulli (Swi) 6
6 Angelo Ciccone / Elia Viviani (Ita) 4
7 Mickael Jeannin / Morgan Kneisky (Fra)
8 Pierre-Luc Perichon / Sebastien Ivars (Fra)
9 Francois Lamiraud / Florent Ivars (Fra)
10 Kevin Fouache / Jules Pijourlet (Fra)
11 Wim Stroetinga / Jeff Vermeulen (Ned)

Overall standings after Night 4

1 Angelo Ciccone / Elia Viviani (Ita) 215 pts
At 1 Lap
2 Danny Stam / Leon Van Bon (Ned) 212
3 Tim Mertens / Kenny de Ketele (Bel) 210
4 Alexander Aeschbach / Franco Marvulli (Swi) 199
At 2 Laps
5 Jens-Erik Madsen / Marc Hester (Den) 199
At 3 Laps
6 Jiri Hochmann / Milan Kadlec (Cze) 138
At 4 Laps
7 Mickael Jeannin / Morgan Kneisky (Fra) 123
At 9 Laps
8 Wim Stroetinga / Jeff Vermeulen (Ned) 94
At 12 Laps
9 Pierre-Luc Perichon / Sebastien Ivars (Fra) 34
At 14 Laps
10 Kevin Fouache / Jules Pijourlet (Fra) 49
At 17 Laps
11 Francois Lamiraud / Florent Ivars (Fra) 47

If you see Marc's pot - don't drink out of it!
If you see Marc’s pot – don’t drink out of it!