When do the boys at VeloVeritas stop thinking about the Six Days? When we’re sleeping; but sometimes we dream about them . . .
A man who we’ve had the pleasure to work with and who impressed us with his speed and spirit is America’s Guy East – and he’s crazier than us about the Sixes. We thought we’d give him a shout and see how he’s coping with a world of sunshine, no Euro pop, real food and proper toilets.Full Story»
As the Pros battle it out across Flanders, the young men who aspire to do the same in the future are locking horns in another famous name from the history of warfare – Normandy. Le Tour de Normandie is one of the premier events on the calendar for men on the way up – Viatcheslav Ekimov, Thor Hushovd and Samuel Dumoulin are among the riders who have won the race.
This year’s winner was a man who’s already proved his worth on the track; 22 year-old Swiss rider Silvan Dillier of the BMC Development Team took the GC by a scant three seconds from 2011 winner, Alex Blain (France & Raleigh). VeloVeritas spoke to Dillier the day after his Normandie triumph.
‘Are you ready, boys?’ asks ex-pro and new 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 of the 2013 Copenhagen. 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. Great days.
There’s new management in Copenhagen, long term organiser Henrik Elmgreen and his wife Helle have stepped down and the reins are now held by ex-pros, Michael Sandstød and Jimmi Madsen.
The changes aren’t huge but they are there – the boxing, the brisk seven man devils, food in the stadium instead of the restaurant up the road and a change of hotel.
The last mentioned is a real pain; we used to billet in the basic but very clean and cosy ‘Zleep’ hotel which is just 500 metres away.
However, certain riders and their personnel made such idiots of themselves last year that much bad feeling was created.
It’s a lunchtime start on Sunday, Junior Senior’s ‘Everybody’ is a cool tune to organise the clothing to – but the bad news is that someone has pinched some of Sebastian Lander’s new BMC kit. I did think there were some dodgy looking youths among the ViPs last night.
Most of the guys are ‘flat’ today – with some it’s just battle fatigue, but some will no doubt be recovering from the post-race party which went on ‘til 05:00. But Barth’s not ‘flat,’ he arrives with blaring ‘boogie box’ creating white noise as it battles with the stadium PA; he’s not big on training, likes night clubs, has an all over tan and two ear rings – and has an old Sercu fan like me shaking my head.
Boxing at a bike race. No, it’s not a misprint, it worked pretty well, short and sharp with the pugilists really going at it.
I’m no boxing aficionado, but I do admire their commitment, the pros divide their day in two, rising early to do their road work – which includes running backwards for long spells – then eating and sleeping in the middle of the day before another training session in the gym in the afternoon/evening before an early bed.
There’s a boxing ring in the track centre, apparently there are matches taking place on Saturday evening – and they present the riders up there.
I snapped Big Bob and Marc Hester getting intro-ed; my Danish Crowns would have to be on Bob if he and Marc did go toe to toe.
The cannon blasts, I push Guy off, wriggle my fat backside so as Bremen winner, Marcel Kalz doesn’t run me over and jog off the track.
Those ‘Cara Mia’ bongos blast from the PA and make me smile; the lap board says ‘250’ and already the Schwalbes and Contis are roaring as the riders who started off the back straight fence hurtle into the home straight – welcome to the Copenhagen 6 Dages Lob 2013.
Steve Penny has been bringing you the race reports, John Young the action images, so I thought we’d look at the people who make the “Berlin 6 Tage Rennen” such a unique affair. At the start of each evening they have a ‘Vorstellung der Parade der Asse’ – a parade of champions.
This year there was only one bona fide senior rainbow jersey holder – World Madison Champion, Kenny De Ketele. Charlotte Becker was wearing a rainbow jersey, too – initially I couldn’t figure out what for.
Everything is irrelevant on the final night at the Berlin Six Day, except the last chase – and it wasn’t a bad one.
Going in it was Kalz/Bengsch topping the board – great time trial riders and strong in the chases – but a Six is almost always decided in the avalanche of points sprints in the final laps.
Neither rider – for all their power – is a great sprinter.
I had been thinking that maybe Roger Kluge wasn’t quite as smooth and fast as he used to be, but in that last chase he was good, very good.
A crowd of around 12,000 filed into the Landsberger Allee Velodrome tonight.
The large numbers continued a trend for the Six Days – with an estimated 70,000 coming through the doors – attendance figures are up rather than down, a good sign going forward.
On the track, following Mondays racing the standings were tighter than they looked on Sunday afternoon with Kalz / Bengsch, Kluge / Schep and Müller / Marvulli all gaining a lap on the weekend leaders De Ketele / Roberts.
So with four teams in the hunt here is how the final night in Berlin went.
So there I was in Berlin and it’s the ladies’ Six Day – well, three days, actually – and I hear one of the lasses waiting to go to the line speaking in a good Lancashire accent.
Check the numbers, #7: Hannah Walker, GB.
At the risk of incurring the wrath of our hard-core readers Viktor, Ivan and Dave , I thought we’d best have a chat with her.
Twice World Madison Champion, twice World Scratch Champion, Olympic silver medallist in the madison and the winner of 33 six days off 115 starts – Franco Marvulli is the most successful rider on the Six Day circuit.
Over the last few seasons there have been times when it looked as if the genial Suisse’s star is in the decline – at Gent in 2011 it looked like his best was behind him. He took time to talk to us on Sunday’s ‘Familientag’ – Family Day – at the Berlin Six Day – his 11th start in the race.
There’s no wi-fi in the stadium at Berlin, you have to go up to the press room; it’s quiet up there, there’s hard wired internet which has your pictures flying in a nanosecond and a fridge full of soft drinks and beer – a runner/journalists Nirvana you might say.
Forgive me if I digress, but my mind goes back to the first time I covered the Tour of Flanders – used to cabinets full of lukewarm mineral water at the Grand Tours, imagine my delight when I opened the chiller cabinet in the press room to find it packed with cold tins of beer – that’s one of the reasons it’s the Heartland.
Sundays at German Six Day races have always traditionally been ‘Family Day’ with the programme of sport and entertainment held during the afternoon rather than in the evening / night.
With temperatures outside now (just) above freezing, making it a relatively mild Berlin winter afternoon, local families came along to the Landsberger Allee Velodrome to celebrate the past, present and future in this their 102nd Six Day race.