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Tag: Grenoble Six Days 2009
Noon, local time, on the Easyjet flight out of Geneva. The race finished at midnight and we were on the autoroute for around 12:45 am - that's a record. The hotel bed in Geneva was blissful, the 'transporter pod' in the motor home is all very well, but crisp, clean sheets and a proper mattress - lovely!
Bar Clemenceau was open again today, for our afternoon 'snifter.' The bar tender must have had a heavy Sunday session, he was asleep at one of his own tables. I went for a Ricard today; it reminded me of the time John and I were in the Bar Britanique on Alpe d'Huez. We drank so much pastis that we only just made it outside in time to catch Pantani on his way to the stage win - those were the days!
The cheer from the cabin next door to ours - below the Grenoble velodrome - told us that the result Flanders had been holding it's breath for, had arrived. Belgium's number one Six Day man, Iljo Keisse's 'positif' in the 2008 Gent six day race has been dismissed on the grounds of 'insufficient evidence.' "Cathine was not found in the 'B' sample and HCT was there in quantities so small as to have no effect on performance."
I had a great dream last night after day four; I won a mountain stage of the Tour, I was on my way to the press conference when I woke up - maybe just as well, knowing my luck it would be one of my ex-wives asking the questions. Four days down and two to go, the racing wasn't too intense; there are a lot of 'tired laddies' on that track.
Them sprinters are big guys-I passed them in the tunnel tonight, they looked cool, cocky, stylish. The public here love the sprinters; at intro time, they actually get their big build up from Daniel Mangeas after the Six Day riders. Bauge did a standstill for more than half-an-hour, in Gent there would be bricks getting lobbed at him, but in Grenoble-they love it.
It's 3:00 pm on Saturday and time for my 'pression' - draught beer - at Bar Clemenceau, I coincide this with a trip to the shops, so as not to arouse too much suspicion. The weather is glorious, despite the carpet of leaves on many of the side walks, it's like a Scottish summer day. Shorts are fine - essential in the heat of the velodrome - in the sunshine and the frantic Grenoble traffic is on valium for the day.
Franco Marvulli, twice world madison and scratch champion, four times winner of the Grenoble six and a winner of 25 sixes in total; Jens-Erik Madsen, world team pursuit champion; Luke Roberts, multiple world team pursuit champion; Iljo Keisse, kermesse star and winner of 11 six days; Leon Van Bon, twice Dutch pro road champion and a Tour and Vuelta stage winner - that's not a bad list for starters.