Tag Archive for ‘Gent Six Day 2009’
The Gent Six day kicks off next week, so as a way to build the excitement we thought we’d revisit last year’s finalé, with VeloVeritas’ own Ed Hood there and working for the Danish World Madison Champions, Saxo Bank riders Alex Rasmussen and Michael Mørkøv, as well as Swiss star Franco Marvulli. Read on!…
The A2 Dover to London road, 23:23 on Sunday.
There was no partying at Iljo’s dad’s bar, De Karper – which is just along the road from the Gent track – for us tonight; we had a ferry to catch.
I didn’t have time to put together a Day Five piece, today. We were up at 09:00 for the 13:00 start; usually I spend the early afternoon writing, but today I couldn’t, although I did manage to get the Day Five pictures away as the under 23 lads prepared for action.
Viktor has been keeping in touch, he was going to come over but couldn’t get a flight. ‘Is that Bruno’s wee brother’s bike he’s on?’
He does have a point, with carbon frame manufacture, one of the biggest costs is to produce the moulds.
This leads a lot of manufactures to go down a ‘one size fits all’ route – meaning a lot of seat post on show and/or stacking/high rise stems at the front end. For me, the classic look of Keisse’s bike is best – extension hard down on the head race and just the right amount of seat pin.
The atmosphere was great, again, last night – the track centre is alive.
The Belgian papers are something else.
Whilst you do get superb cycling coverage; in yesterday’s ‘De Gentenaar’ we had to endure a colour photograph of a fatal road accident, complete with burnt out car and mangled push bike; a racist photo manipulation of Michelle Obama as a character from Planet of the Apes and images from a slaughter house, including a cow getting it’s head chopped off – I’ll stick with the Guardian.
My tortured old body is getting into the routine, now. It was 03:30 am when we got to bed; we could have been in bed before that, but a beer was necessary.
It’s different here; the butcher asks you how Keisse is doing in the six and the local paper has Iljo in full colour, on the cover.
In the same paper – De Gentenaar – which is a local ‘rag,’ there’s a two page guide to track racing and two pages of stats on the 2009 season.
Columbia are top winners, with 85 (I thought it was 86 !): Saxo have 44: Diquigiovanni 33; Garmin 29; Rabobank 26; Cervélo 25 – first Belgian team, on 24, is QuickStep.
It was 1975 when Dave, Don, Ed the Pole and yours truly first climbed the concrete stairs to get our first sight of the legendary boards of Gent velodrome.
I still remember the smells; derny exhaust, pee, frying food and beer!
Having spent my formative years riding time trials and road races (badly !) in the wilds of Scotland, with sheep as the main audience, I was fascinated by the spectacle.
“When you see the track, you think, no way, I can’t ride that ! it’s too small !” and that’s from world madison champion, Michael Mørkøv.
Compared to the wide open 210 metre pastures of Grenoble, at 166 metres, the Gent track does look tiny; the bankings aren’t really steep enough and you can’t ride the top 400 mm of the track, because the crash barriers overlap the boards by that much.
But legends aren’t necessarily perfect; and this is a legendary place – it was 1922 when world hour record man, Oscar Egg partnered Marcel Buysse to victory in the first Six Days of Ghent, or Z6 Daagse Vlaanderen – Gent, as it is, now.