The last day at Grenoble Six Day 2006 isn’t too hard for the riders, there’s a points race, a time trial and then the big chase – 180 laps of the 210 meter track. I did hear guys complain though that the lack of warm-up races made for sore legs early in the Madison.
I was up at 9.30 and straight into my jersey-folding routine.
Panic; one pair of Alex Rasmussen’s mitts have gone missing; in a world torn by wars this may not seem like too big a deal, but in the cloistered world of the six-days it’s probably a day’s worth of gossip: “You hear about de big fat, bald Scottie runner with Kris? He loses Razl’s best mitts, eh?”
I searched everywhere, but to cut a long story short, Alex had taken them back to the hotel with him. I was too relieved to be mad.
The last day is stressful because you have to break camp and be away as soon after the race as possible, especially if you have guys catching a plane to Australia. Franco Marvulli doesn’t like the cabin to be broken down until as late as possible – he hates coming in there when it’s bare.
I had two trips to the bakers today plus one to the mini-mart and one to the chemist.
I also managed my daily five minutes of peace over a beer at bar Le Clemenceau, not a bad wee place it is too.
A few of the guys didn’t do their afternoon training today, end of race blues. Franco went out with the local cycling club for an hour and a half.
Since Franco teamed-up with six-day legend and compatriot Bruno Risi he’s found a new seam of enthusiasm. Whilst Franco was riding at Grenoble, Bruno was up in Dortmund winning there with German road star, Erik Zabel.
The two Swiss’ big target is the Madison at the Bejing Olympics in 2008. They were second to Aussies Graeme Brown and Stuart O’Grady in Athens but want gold this time – you heard it here first.
Bejing or not, he fancied a pizza, as did our young Danes; I was duly dispatched to Natalie’s pizza van, returning with three pizzas which were scoffed without ceremony – that’s on top of the steak and pasta Kris had already served them. Those boys can eat, especially Alex. Once the boys were fed we began taking what kit we could up to the camper, a process that went on all evening.
First-up was the Points Race won by Bettini & Villa then a flying start three lap Time Trial won by Van Mechelen & DeFauw with French sprinter Tournand as third man. The two Belgians we’re quick but Tournand wasn’t ‘pinging’ – they still won though.
The climax of the night – the 180 lap chase. I missed most of it due to loading the camper but caught the finale, which was good racing.
Peter Schep and Jens Mouris of Holland tried hard to take the lap which would give them victory but with Franco on the form he is in there was slim chance of a Dutch win. Marvulli & Aeschbach duly took their fourth Grenoble Six with the Danes second.
It was the usual chaos after the finish and you have to be careful of the riders’ kit; there are laptops, gameboys and mobile phones scattered about the place and fans there who shouldn’t be.
Michael was disappointed with the presentation: “The Folies girls are on the podium but for the first time they have tits covered-up!”
As we man-handled the last of the kit into the camper and tried to fit in Alex, Michael, two bikes and all their kit, Bettini sauntered out, bid. “Ciao” to everyone, kindled-up the Porsche and was gone.
Word is, he was on 30,000 euros start money – not bad for six days work, but he’s got all the expense that goes with running a high performance car remember.
Lyon airport 03.30 am, that’s the guys dropped-off to catch their flight to Sydney. Can we find a bed now please Kris?