Kay Werner Nielson
Kay Werner Nielson.

The Copenhagen Six Day is a special race for us here at VeloVeritas – it was the first Six Day we worked at, nearly a decade ago.

We’ve built good relationships with Danish riders over that period, especially reigning Danish Elite Road Race Champion, Michael Mørkøv who’s no stranger to our pages.

Therefore it was with sadness we received an email from Mr. Henrik Elmgreen – for many years the organiser of the Copenhagen Six Day – to inform us that one of Denmark’s Six Day legends has died.

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Thursday 13th of March was a sad day for the ever shrinking world of the Six Days; former top Danish professional Six Day and track rider Kay Werner Nielsen died at the age of 92.

Nielsen was the first real Danish Six Day star.

He won in 1951 in Copenhagen; the first of his 14 Six Days wins and achieved the last ten years later in 1961.

He was the man, who created the legend of the famous Danish “Team Number 7”, always in the Danish colors.

His first partner was Evan Klamer, but in 1958 he teamed with Palle Lykke, with whom he won eight Six Days.

Later, teams like Frank/Ørsted, Veggerby/Madsen and in recent years Mørkøv/Rasmussen have carried on the great tradition.

Kay Werner Nielson
Kay (L) was a marvellous track rider and went into race administration after he retired.

Nielsen was also an endurance rider of high international standard; 13 times in a row, from 1948 to 1960, he won the Danish professional title in the five kilometer individual pursuit.

And he was on the podium in the World Championships in the same discipline three times; with silver in Zurich 1953 (beaten by the legendary Sid Patterson in the final) and twice taking bronze in Milano 1951 and in Copenhagen 1956.

In 1956 he was beaten by Jacques Anquetil in the semi-final. Anquetil lost the final to Italian Guido Messina, but afterwards Anquetil said to L’Équipe, that is was in fact Nielsen and not Messina who defeated him in Copenhagen.

Kay Werner Nielson
Kay (L) with Palle Lykke.

In September 1956, at the age of 35, Nielsen made an attempt on the hour-record on the Vigorelli track in Milan.

With 45,306 Km he didn’t beat the World Record, but his result was among the very best achieved so far, and it was for many years a Danish Record.

After his career Nielsen was for some years President of the Danish Pro Cycling Federation and from 1977 until 1983 was sport director at the Copenhagen Six Days.

Henrik Elmgreen