Saturday, May 28, 2022
HomeDiariesGrenoble Six Day 2006 - Getting there

Grenoble Six Day 2006 – Getting there

-

“What a difference a day makes,” as Esther Phillips once sang. Tuesday afternoon, Charleroi, Belgium and it’s cold, grey, wet and windy. We’re on our way to the Grenoble Six Day 2006.

It has taken us nearly ten hours on the motorway to get to Lyon having been battered by cross-winds and cut-up by manic East European truckers.

It was wearing-on for 1.00 am when we dropped into comas at L’Hotel Tour de Fawlty; but the beds worked just fine.

Grenoble Six Day 2006
Nearly there.

Wednesday, 11.00 am, wispy clouds and a heat haze around the mountains make for a scene from a Swiss chocolate advert.

Limestone cliffs tower to our left, ahead and to our right are jagged peaks.

The sun is warm on my skin through the windscreen as we get ever-closer to Grenoble. Noon, Palais des Sports Grenoble and we get our photos taken for our passes.

Kris is a soigneur and I’m a “garcon de course”, literally translated that’s “boy of the race” – that’s equivalent to a septic tank cleaner’s assistant.

“Chef de piste” is former Tour de France and Grenoble Six winner, Bernard Thevenet; he looks good, tanned and thinner than last year. He’s an affable man, as is his dapper second in command, former world professional points champion, Laurent Biondi.

“Can we get set-up now, please?” enquires Kris. “Non, non, at two o’clock, now we go for lunch,” well, this is France after all.

Grenoble Six Day 2006
Grenoble is a beautiful place.

We wander off to do some shopping and return at 2.30, Biondi is there but not Thevenet; he’s still “up the Toon” as they say in Edinburgh, telling the boy at the next table how he dropped Merckx that time in ’75.

Immediately the politics of the incestuous world of six-day racing rears its head. Last year we had the big cabin below the stadium, this year we have three wee ones, much less handy. Kris suspects that Franco Marvulli’s partner, Alexander Aeschbach has tipped the organisers that we only have five riders, whilst Robert D’Hondt the soigneur who is looking after Alex this year, has six.

Marvulli and Aeschbach have won here three times and are riding together this year, but top-man on the sixes, Bruno Risi has asked Marvulli to be his regular partner – to the disgust of Aeschbach, who hardly talks to Marvulli now and does not want to work with Kris.

Juvenile? You bet!

It takes the bulk of the afternoon to unload the camper and get the cabins set-up to Kris’s satisfaction. It puts us ahead of the game, though; tomorrow we only have to set-up the track side cabins.

It’s 9.00 pm and we’re in a Premiere Classe motel back at Lyon, the Danish guys fly-in to the airport here in the morning and we have to collect them.

The pros get introduced to the crowd at 20.25 tomorrow night. I’ll talk to you then.

Ed Hood
Ed Hood
Ed's been involved in cycling for over 47 years. In that time he's been a successful time triallist, a team manager, and a sponsor of several teams and clubs. He's also a respected and successful coach and during the winter months can often be found working in the cabins at the Six Days for some of the world's top riders. Ed remains a massive fan of the sport and couples his extensive contacts with an inexhaustable enthusiasm for the minutiae and the history of our sport.

Related Articles

Gent Six Day 2012 – Finale Snapshots

Snapshots from the Gent Six Day 2012, as we roam around the city and spend time with the winners in the bar.

Copenhagen Six Day 2019 – Nights One, Two and Three

The cannon fires, the smoke clears, then the drums, those damn drums! But it’s OK, it’s just the intro to Paul Delicato’s 1976 Euro Disco smash, ‘Cara Mia.’ Yes, we’re at the final Six Day of the season; the Copenhagen Six Day 2019.

Murray Hall – the Aussie British Madison Champion

Back in 1972 when Edinburgh's Meadowbank Velodrome was still a thing of beauty and not kindling-in-waiting, the British Madison Championships were held there. The men who won that day were the young Australian rider, Murray Hall – then riding for Croydon Premier - and his compatriot, Tom Moloney. We caught up with Murray recently during our researches about the Six Day races of old - he has a good tale to tell.

Berlin Six Day 2012 – Day One

I'm standing on the chair so as I can see over the cabin, Leif Lampater and Roger Kluge are the only pair left to ride in the 1,000 metres time trial here at the Berlin Six Day.

Zürich Four Days 2011 – Day Two

The hotel I'm in for the Zürich Four Days 2011 is nice, a double bed, en-suite shower and beautiful breakfast spread - but it's a logistical pain. Kris has to 'make massage' with Jesper at lunchtime, but I don't want to hang around the hotel all morning - there's work to do at the track. I had to scrounge a lift - always a pain.

Gent Six Day 2009 – Preview

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.

At Random

Michael Mørkøv’s Very Big Milan-Sanremo Adventure

It's a long way from Copenhagen to Sanremo. Last autumn we saw Saxo Bank's Michael Mørkøv ride the classic 'sit in and sprint' race in the Copenhagen Worlds netting 18th and best home rider among the absolute cream of world cycling.

John Archibald – “a four minute (Pursuit) effort is something I think I could be good at”

Season 2016 saw John Archibald record times of 50:07, 50:04 and 50:03 for 25 mile time trials - so a big goal for him was to dip below the magic 50 minutes. On Sunday past on the rolling dual carriageway between Brechin and Forfar he didn’t just dip inside the 30 miles per hour standard, he left it way behind with a stunning 47 minutes and 57 seconds ride. In the process he took 46 seconds off Graeme Obree’s 1994 record of 48:43; we just had to, ‘have a word.’

“Coppi” by Herbie Sykes

With Xmas rapidly approaching I was recently emailed to ask if I’d like to receive a Hinault, Kuiper, Lemond or Coppi fine bone china mug as a gift. They were all really nice but there’s something magical about that gorgeous Bianchi ‘celeste’ colour, so that’s what I’ll be drinking my Xmas coffee from – maybe with a shot of grappa in there.

Le Tour de France – Day 7: Stage 19, Roanne to Montlucon, an day with Emma Davies Jones

Bonjour 08.30 we're just getting ready to roll. This is our second F1 hotel of the trip, Grenoble two nights ago and here, last night, basic but clean and the beds work fine - 33 euros for the two of us, so musn't grumble. It's another beautiful day in France, more that can be said for St. Etienne, which seems to be re-inventing itself as a 'Techno Town.' The old part of town is fine though, we had an excellent pizza in a little restaurant last night. Motorbikes and Emma Davies Jones!

Kenny De Ketele, World Madison Champ – “Track racing is my passion”

Just before his dominant performance in the Four Days of Grenoble finale with Iljo Keisse, World Madison Champion, Kenny De Ketele took time to talk to VeloVeritas. De Ketele has been around the track scene for a long time, always there and knocking on the door. But it was the winter of 2011/12 when the man from Oudenaarde finally arrived.

Star of the Future: Calum Anderton – The GHS ’10’ Winner’s Move to Belgium

The GHS ‘10’ – as in George Herbert Stancer (OBE, 1878 – 1962), racer, journalist, cycling administrator and the man who lends his name to the British juvenile ten mile championship. Stancer was a champion of the race against the watch and the event was first organised to honour his memory and encourage youngsters to ride in time trials. On many occasions the winner has gone on to win the junior BBAR and then ...