Up at 04:30, the plan was to get the bus from Porty at 09:00 – however, and to cut a long story short, the van is abandoned in a western suburb of Edinburgh and a cab was flagged down to get me to the airport on time.
The flight was undramatic – thank God – and there was Kris in the airport bus park, with the camper.
It’s seems to be an unwritten law that you have to arrive in a different country from where the race is; so the rendezvous was in Geneva, Switzerland.
The drive down through the mountains was nice and we were soon braving the one way systems in Grenoble, ‘The Capital of the Alps.’
It was good to get our creds today – all time saved tomorrow – and grab a programme.
There’s little doubt that the world economic situation isn’t just affecting the road scene.
There are only 11 teams here, there used to be 13 or 14; there are no foreign sprinters, last year we had Shane Perkins – and the bottom end of the progie is sketchy.
Franco Marvulli and Alex Aeschbach of Switzerland are team number one, as befits ‘Recordman’ Marvulli with six of his career 26 wins coming under the soaring concrete wings of the Palais des Sports.
Team two is Martin Blaha and Jiri Hochmann (2010 Euro madison champions) from the Czech Republic; but Hochmann might well not be riding – suffering from the ill effects of a crash at Amsterdam.
Team three is Jesper Mørkøv and Marc Hester, the former is brother of Saxo pro Michael and the latter had a good season 2010/11 with countryman Jens Erik Madsen, including a podium, here in Grenoble.
Team four is Kenny De Ketele (or Kenny ‘De Toaster’ as Cav would have it) and Tim Mertens, the young but experienced Belgian duo.
Team five is a rampant Gentenaar Iljo Keisse straight off winning Amsterdam and the Euro madison with De Ketele, the next day – he’s paired with very classy French man, Morgan Kneisky the former world scratch champion.
Team six is 39 year-old Dutch specialist Danny Stam and Aussie former team pursuit world champ Luke Roberts who won here with Franco in 2009.
After that, well…
But Nathalie’s pizzas are still the best and the top bunk of the camper was cosy.