‘Are you ready, boys?‘ asks ex-pro and new Copenhagen Six Day 2013 race organiser, Michael Sandstød. Then he adds with a grin; ‘Enjoy your last hour in Copenhagen!‘ I’m holding Michael Mørkøv on the start line for the final chase.
It’s just like old times.
Michael doesn’t work with us anymore and the memories flood back to his first win here – and to that magical night when he and Alex won in Gent.
But the count down has started, Michael goes down on the drops, Marc Hester to my left brushes his front tub with his hand… BANG! a big push from me, those ‘Cara Mia’ bongos thump and in 60 minutes we’ll know who the winners of the 51st Copenhagen 6 Dags Lob are going to be.
I wish I could tell you it was a great final chase – but it wasn’t.
But, as it says here in my list of journalistic clichés, ‘let’s go back to the beginning.’
The inevitable sprint series starts the night, Guy wins one but tosses his flowers to a pretty girl in the crowd – he’s learning.
There’s a brisk 30 minute chase, which Benjamin sits out – he really is ill.
Zach isn’t feeling the best, either – he’s toiling to get balanced meals here to suit his vegan diet.
Former British Road Race Champion, Hamish Haynes was a vegetarian once; then he went to live in Belgium and realised that starving to death was a distinct possibility.
I digress – the stadium is filling nicely as Kool and the Gang, ‘Get Down On It.’
But joint race organiser and ex-pro Jimmi Madsen is looking stern, he doesn’t want another ‘track fondo’ like we had on Sunday.
Devil, Derny; Marc Hester wins and a rare smile creases his face – he’s taken partner Bartko’s illness really badly and isn’t fun to be around.
Ignoring most folks and snarling at any greeting.
Guy is third in the next Devil, Barth wins, he’s good at that sneaky stuff.
The Time Trial and Marcel Kalz blasts his own track record – 12.51 for 250 metres.
That’s 10 seconds dead for 200m at the end of a Six Day, albeit he came off a monstrous hand sling from Robert Bengsch.
This is Bengsch’s last race; whilst Kalz is going to pilot blind tandems – Craig Maclean take note!
The last ‘Balustrade’ sprint and Barth has his ‘coronation’ gear on, crown, cape and sceptre – the crowd like it, I guess.
Dario G pumps ‘Sunchyme’ as the string tracks the fence and the sellout crowd stands and claps along.
I watch from my favourite view point and take it all in – I love it.
And then it’s time for the finalé – I miss half of it of course, there’s all that ‘Sherpa’ stuff to do for us runners.
The music was good for the last 35 minutes – and the crowd enjoyed it but it was a ‘flat’ finish.
The drama was Jesper and Franco making third spot, I suppose – but a Six Day should always end with a last gasp lap gain or a ‘High Noon’ points shoot-out.
It shouldn’t end with one team 78 points clear – but hey! I’m just a runner.
Vera Lyne croons; ‘We’ll Meet Again,’ mechanics strip bikes; runners hump tumble driers and bike bags; riders smile and have a beer, Jimmi Madsen even looks human.
Bengsch gives me a nod, Franco a handshake from his big paw, Jesper a cuddle, Bartko even coughs a ‘ciao.’
Michael is headed for the Tour of the Algarve with his Saxo-Tinkoff teammates, but Franco is off to St. Moritz and the horse racing on ice.
Why am I not surprised by that?
Long days, poor sleep and mobile signals, poorer food – and let’s not talk about money – pain in the neck officials (and riders), no winners’ flowers in the cabin because we have ‘small’ riders, no wi-fi, no hot water in the shower for two days.
I wouldn’t have missed it.
Benjamin, Dirk, Guy, Kris, Zach, thank you, gentlemen.
Word on the street is that it’s ‘no more’ – let’s hope not.