‘The track door will open at 09:30,’ we were told, but this is the Grenoble Six Days 2011, in France – and you have to give or take 45 minutes – and sure enough, we got in around 10:15.

Bring the last of the gear down from the camper, set up the track cabins, go to the shops for supplies, help the guys with their bikes, go to the shops for razors so Franco can shave his legs, help with the dinner, do the washing up and then slip out quietly when the riders all descend upon our cabin for their pre-race meeting.

Grenoble Six Days 2011
Having shaved his legs, Franco is interviewed.

Just your typical pre-race afternoon.

Schoolboys, juniors, ladies, presentation, sprinters, circus act . . .

The first pro race is a sprint series, Keisse/Kneisky take it; that may well be a portent of what’s to come – Iljo is rampant.

Grenoble Six Days 2011
Iljo Keisse is on supreme form.

He rode the Tour of Beijing (“the worst bike race in the history of mankind” reckons Vik) and then the Amsterdam Six, where he flew to victory with QuickStep team-mate, Terpstra.

The six finished at midnight but by the time the presentation and controle took place it was 03:00 am before he got to bed.

There was qualifying for the Euro madison at 10:00 – and then he won the final, with Kenny De Ketele.

If that’s not form, I don’t know what is.

Grenoble Six Days 2011
One of the circus acts, the strongmen.

I’m going to ease back on the Grenoble circus act pics this year – Vik finds them distressing.

Grenoble Six Days 2011
The oppositions’ view of Iljo.

First chase – it’s no death race but I guess the boys have to ease into that madison carry on.

That said Keisse/Kneisky look razor-sharp – but Franco and Alex counter their one lap gain, have more points overall and take the maillot jaunes.

Kris and I hope they hold on to them – less jerseys for us to wash; the organisation wash the leaders’ jerseys.

I’ve just had a peak at one of the circus acts; Vik would be up there laying-into the boy, he’s that bad.

Grenoble Six Days 2011
The second chase is short and fast.

The second chase is only 20 minutes, not worth putting out the wash basins for, or giving the guys a drink on their warm down lap.

Jesper and Marc take it; Franco and Alex still lead.

By midnight, most of the crowd has gone, just a few up in the stands and the hardcore drinkers still at the track centre restaurant tables.

Grenoble Six Days 2011
On that subject; 98 tables with 10 covers each at 63 Euros per head – economic down turn or not, those ain’t bad numbers.

There’s a late flurry of sprints and devils then the boys bolt for the cabin.

Kris has already gone down to fire up the toasties – I gather up the washing, shades, shoes, helmets and get them all down to the cabin.

Grenoble Six Days 2011
This isn’t Ed’s washing up pile, glad to say.

Back up, clean out the pee pails, tidy the cabin, take the drinks bottles down, help with the washing, tidy the cabin, have a beer.

Bed for 03:00 am – easy life.

Grenoble Six Days 2011
Morgan Kneisky.
Grenoble Six Days 2011
Jesper & Marc take yellow.

Result

Sprint series

1 Morgan Kneisky/Iljo Keisse (Fra/Bel) 15 pts
2 Alexander Aeschbach/Franco Marvulli (Swi) 9
3 Jules Pijourlet/Kévin Fouahe (Fra) 9
4 Clément Carisey/Bastien Ruffinengo (Fra) 8
5 Marc Hester/Jesper Morkov (Den) 6
6 Albert Torres/Sebastian Mora (Spa) 5
7 Pierre-Luc Perichon/Sébastien Ivars (Fra) 5
8 Martin Hacecky/Martin Blaha (Cze) 3
9 Tim Mertens/Kenny De Ketele (Bel) 3
10 Danny Stam/Luke Roberts (Ned/Aus) 2
11 Flaurent Ivars/Francois Lamiraud (Fra) 1

Madison

1 Alexander Aeschbach/Franco Marvulli (Swi) 20 pts
2 Morgan Kneisky/Iljo Keisse (Fra/Bel) 12
3 Martin Hacecky/Martin Blaha (Cze) 10
4 Tim Mertens/Kenny De Ketele (Bel) 8
5 Marc Hester/Jesper Morkov (Den) 6
6 Danny Stam/Luke Roberts (Ned/Aus)
@ 1 lap
7 Jules Pijourlet/Kévin Fouahe (Fra)
8 Albert Torres/Sebastian Mora (Spa)
9 Pierre-Luc Perichon/Sébastien Ivars (Fra)
10 Clément Carisey/Bastien Ruffinengo (Fra)
@ 2 laps
11 Flaurent Ivars/Francois Lamiraud (Fra)

Elimination (red)

1 Marc Hester/Jesper Morkov (Den) 10 pts
2 Jules Pijourlet/Kévin Fouahe (Fra) 6
3 Albert Torres/Sebastian Mora (Spa) 5
4 Alexander Aeschbach/Franco Marvulli (Swi) 4
5 Clément Carisey/Bastien Ruffinengo (Fra) 3
6 Pierre-Luc Perichon/Sébastien Ivars (Fra) 2
7 Flaurent Ivars/Francois Lamiraud (Fra)
8 Martin Hacecky/Martin Blaha (Cze)
9 Tim Mertens/Kenny De Ketele (Bel)
10 Morgan Kneisky/Iljo Keisse (Fra/Bel)
11 Danny Stam/Luke Roberts (Ned/Aus)

Madison

1 Marc Hester/Jesper Morkov (Den) 20 pts
@ 1 lap
2 Tim Mertens/Kenny De Ketele (Bel) 12
3 Morgan Kneisky/Iljo Keisse (Fra/Bel) 10
4 Alexander Aeschbach/Franco Marvulli (Swi) 8
5 Martin Hacecky/Martin Blaha (Cze) 6
6 Danny Stam/Luke Roberts (Ned/Aus) 4
7 Albert Torres/Sebastian Mora (Spa)
8 Jules Pijourlet/Kévin Fouahe (Fra)
9 Pierre-Luc Perichon/Sébastien Ivars (Fra)
10 Clément Carisey/Bastien Ruffinengo (Fra)
11 Flaurent Ivars/Francois Lamiraud (Fra)

Elimination (black)

1 Luke Roberts (Aus) 10 pts
2 Kenny De Ketele (Bel) 6
3 Sebastian Mora (Spa) 5
4 Iljo Keisse (Bel) 4
5 Jesper Morkov (Den) 3
6 Kévin Fouahe (Fra) 2
7 Bastien Ruffinengo (Fra)
8 Sébastien Ivars (Fra)
9 Francois Lamiraud (Fra)
10 Martin Blaha (Cze)
11 Franco Marvulli (Swi)

Scratch race

1 Albert Torres/Sebastian Mora (Spa) 10 pts
2 Jules Pijourlet/Kévin Fouahe (Fra) 6
3 Flaurent Ivars/Francois Lamiraud (Fra) 5
4 Pierre-Luc Perichon/Sébastien Ivars (Fra) 4
5 Clément Carisey/Bastien Ruffinengo (Fra) 3
6 Morgan Kneisky/Iljo Keisse (Fra/Bel) 2
7 Danny Stam/Luke Roberts (Ned/Aus)
8 Alexander Aeschbach/Franco Marvulli (Swi)
9 Martin Hacecky/Martin Blaha (Cze)
10 Marc Hester/Jesper Morkov (Den)
11 Tim Mertens/Kenny De Ketele (Bel)

Team elimination

1 Tim Mertens (Bel) 20 pts
2 Alexander Aeschbach (Swi) 12
3 Danny Stam (Ned) 10
4 Martin Hacecky (Cze) 8
5 Morgan Kneisky (Fra) 6
6 Albert Torres (Spa) 4
7 Marc Hester (Den)
8 Jules Pijourlet (Fra)
9 Pierre-Luc Perichon (Fra)
10 Clément Carisey (Fra)
11 Flaurent Ivars (Fra)

Standings after night 1

1 Marc Hester/Jesper Morkov (Den) 47 pts
@ 1 lap
2 Alexander Aeschbach/Franco Marvulli (Swi) 59
3 Morgan Kneisky/Iljo Keisse (Fra/Bel) 54
4 Tim Mertens/Kenny De Ketele (Bel) 51
5 Martin Hacecky/Martin Blaha (Cze) 31
6 Danny Stam/Luke Roberts (Ned/Aus) 30
@ 2 laps
7 Albert Torres/Sebastian Mora (Spa) 29
8 Jules Pijourlet/Kévin Fouahe (Fra) 26
9 Clément Carisey/Bastien Ruffinengo (Fra) 14
10 Pierre-Luc Perichon/Sébastien Ivars (Fra) 11
@ 3 laps
11 Flaurent Ivars/Francois Lamiraud (Fra) 6