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.
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.
I remember interviewing Andreas Müller a year or two ago and him telling me that he’d be happy to emulate the career of German former Six Day rider Gert Dörich, who was the ‘Taxi Driver’ par excellence during his long career which took in 163 Six Day races. ‘Taxi Driver’ is the term used to describe solid, experienced riders whose job is to partner riders who are new to the world of the ‘races to nowhere.’
But Andreas’ sights are set higher, these days. We spoke to the 33 year-old on the eve of the Berlin Six Day.
Yorkshire rider Adam Blythe first grabbed the big headlines when he won two stages and the GC in the 2010 Circuit Franco-Belge; a UCI 2.1 stage race with a history stretching back to 1924. Blythe became one of the youngest-ever winners in the event, beating Sep Vanmarcke (Topsport Vlaanderen) by six seconds and Jakob Fuglsang (Saxo Bank) by seven.
This winter saw him line up for the Sixday Nights of Zürich where VeloVeritas took the opportunity to get his thoughts on the winter boards as well as his road career.
As a web site which tries to keep its readers in touch with what’s happening on the winter boards; it’s remise of us not to have spoken before now to Britain’s greatest ever Six Day rider – Tony Doyle, MBE.
Other ‘Brits’ rode the ‘races to nowhere’ – Tony Gowland even managed to win two Six Days (off 31 starts); London (with Patrick Sercu) and Montreal with (Gianni Motta).
Nigel Dean and Hugh Porter both rode the winter boards – whilst Maurice Burton forced his way into the inner circle, starting 46 Six Days and riding with honour, but never pulled off a win.
It’s been quite a season for Saxo-Tinkoff’s former world madison champion, Michael Mørkøv.
The man from just north of Copenhagen was the prime animator in the Spring classics; wore the polka dot King of the Mountains leader’s jersey in the Tour de France for the first week; was in the Danish team pursuit squad which dipped under the magic four minutes in London and he was back off ‘up the road’ in the late season Northern European classics.
And now, he’s just won the first Six Day race of the winter – Amsterdam, with former Netherlands elite road race champion, Pim Ligthart.
Tony Gibb had been a classy track rider since the mid-90’s, winning medals at the British Championships since 1998 in the Scratch Race and the Points Race, but he hit the headlines in 2002 when he won the bronze medal in the Manchester Commonwealth Games Scratch Race and then went on to win silver in the same discipline at the World Championships in Ballerup that year.
The Middlesex man holds the record of four victories in the prestigious early season Eddie Soens Memorial road race in the UK and he has won nine British Championships in his career – so far, he’s not finished yet.
If we take Tom Boonen’s epics out of the equation there’s no doubt about the best finale of the year. The end game of stage seven of the Presidential Tour of Turkey saw a break of seven riders clear with six kilometres to go. Despite their lead plummeting as an angry peloton closed them down, there were riders skiving and scheming.
One man was having none of it and with just over five kilometres to go he bolted – Iljo Keisse.
Californian Daniel Holloway, aka ‘Hollywood’ was a surprise addition to the ranks of Raleigh, this season.
Known as a man who likes to have fun, his jokes and vast array of “Oakleys for every occasion” disguise the fact that the 24-year old is a quality athlete.
Dreams, we all have them, but most of us don’t realise them. When Kenny De Ketele was a boy, he’d go to the Kuipke velodrome in Gent to watch the Six Days and dream of riding and winning on the hallowed boards. And he’d look at the world champions in their sparkling white rainbow jerseys and dream of the day when he could pull one over his head.
But unlike most of us, Kenny has realised his dreams.
With the World Track Championships only a few weeks away, we thought we’d talk to some top riders who you may know not much about, guys with interesting stories to tell, our “left-field’ stars.
Cleveland, Ohio, 1949: and when Charles Bergna and Cecil Yates hoisted their bouquets over their heads little did they know that it would be more than 50 years before another US pairing would do the same thing. It was Bergna’s third win in Cleveland, his final career total was five wins; Yates was more prolific with 16 wins-but it was te end of the Golden Age for US Six Day riders. It was Moscow in 2002 before the Stars and Stripes would fly for both riders at the end of a Six Day race-for 2000 Olympic sprint champion Marty Nothstein and our left-fielder, Ryan Oelkers.
VeloVeritas spoke recently to Commonwealth Games Team Sprint Silver Medallist Charline Joiner after her ride at the Rotterdam Six Day.
Who makes sure the wheels turn smoothly during a six day race? The mechanics are the men who change the gears, stick on the tyres, endlessly polish the paintwork and pick up the pieces after crashes.
They arrive first to build the bikes up and leave last after having stripped the bikes down for transit. What makes a man want to roam Europe, often driving a thousand kilometres through the night to get to the next race – or to get home? We spoke to circuit spanner man, Dirk Dekeyser at the Grenoble Six.