Tuesday, August 3, 2021
HomeDiariesZürich Six Day 2012 - Part I

Zürich Six Day 2012 – Part I


Germany, somewhere near the Taunus mountains at 09:22 Sunday. We left the velodrome of the Zürich Six Day at 03:00 and there are still 400 kilometres to go to the ferry at Amsterdam.

It began to snow like Hell about an hour into Germany; there were roadworks, we were diverted off the motorway and there were either no diversion signs or they were snow bound.

Whichever it was, we ended up hideously lost and dropped a chunk of time.

But once the sun comes up, it all doesn’t seem quite as grim: despite the spray and demented German drivers. We passed the emergency services at one incident where a hot hatch was lodged in the branches of a tree – crazy.

Zürich Six Day
The final podium of the Six.

And on the subject of dangerous surfaces; Kenny De Ketele and Peter Schep confirmed that they were the strongest pair on the rattling boards of Zürich to relegate Roger Kluge and Danilo Hondo to third.

Zürich Six Day
Kenny and Peter discuss tactics before one of the chases.

Zürich Six Day
A moustache-less Kenny De Ketele pops into our cabin for a chat.

(But Hondo is still the coolest man on the winter boards – just shading it from Iljo Keisse.)

Despite home boys Franco Marvulli and Tristan Marguet’s dominance in the time trials; when it came to the essence of what Six Day racing is all about – the chases – they didn’t have the horsepower of the men from the north.

For a while it looked as if Switzerland’s new ‘Golden Boy,’ Silvan Dillier – who was on the podium at Gent – might do the business, but once World Champion De Ketele and super stylist Schep got their noses ahead, no one was going to take a lap back.

None of our three riders set the boards aflame, but Adam Blythe won a Derny race – and there was a personal triumph in finishing for Martin Hacecky, who was unwell the night before and had doubts about even starting the final chase.

Zürich Six Day
Adam on his way to winning the Derny event.

And the next time someone tells you that the Six Days are all fixed, direct them to Adam Blythe, Martin Hacecky or Alois Kankovsky and ask them to tell you about night three at Zürich 2012; savage isn’t the word; there were men in tears coming off that track – and I don’t exaggerate.

* * *

Here’s what I wrote on Saturday morning, on the eve of the finale.

Franco Marvulli wants to win his home Six Day – but I don’t think that Kenny De Ketele agrees with that.

Zürich Six Day
Kenny De Ketele at the start of the Six Day (it was still Movember).

Marvulli/Marguet and De Ketele/Schep are strong, but so too are Dillier/O’Shea and Hondo/Kluge – with Hansen/Hester, Lampater/Grasmann and Graf/Müller all very capable, too.

It’s a solid, balanced field and the big chases are good to watch – there are two madisons each night; a 100 or 125 lap ‘opener’ and 200, 250 or 300 as the main chase of the night.

The final chase will be over 250 laps at 00:45 tomorrow morning – Sunday.

Zürich Six Day
Some of the guys use yoga to relax and recover between races.

There aren’t many negs to report from the VeloVeritas camp – great hotel, decent cabins, good food at the track and three cool riders to work with.

Zürich Six Day
And as a bonus we have Mr. Peter Jacques on the team to assist and entertain.

Pete is in Zürich as part of the German team which builds the track – or in this case, nearly didn’t.

The container with one of the bankings went astray and it was all hands on deck to get the ‘bahn’ ready for the race.

Zürich Six Day
Pete was working hard on the track build.

The race was cut back to a four day, last year.

If you’re a Six Day organiser then one of your biggest costs is renting the hall – cutting back to four days makes a big difference to the sums.

Grenoble has followed suit and cut back to four days – and we’ve actually heard a rumour that there will be no race there in 2012.

Let’s hope not.

Zürich Six Day
Adam is visited by his boss Andy. Photo©Pete Jacques.

Zürich has run since 1954, although there was a break from 2001 to 2006.

‘Recordman’ is Bruno Risi on 11 wins – seven with brother-in-law, Kurt Betschart, two with Danny Stam and two with Franco Marvulli.

Winners last year were ‘Marvellous’ Franco and Iljo Keisse – having the Belgian as a partner doesn’t do your chances of winning a Six Day any harm, it must be said.

Zürich Six Day
Tristan and Franco win another madison time trial.

None of our guys will be on the podium – but a race isn’t just about the first three.

Martin Hacecky was meant to ride with brother Vojtech but when the latter went down sick, Alois Kankovsky stepped in.

Zürich Six Day
Martin Hacecky.

Martin and Alois ride for the Dukla Prague Continental team and have good palmarés.

Martin was junior time trial champion of the Czech Republic and spent time racing in Italy where he was a good climber.

He rode a year for Swiss Continental team Atlas before he returned to Dukla where he began his pro career.

Even although he had four wins in the Czech Republic in 2012, his job on the squad is to provide horsepower for team mate Alois.

Zürich Six Day
Alois puts out some power in the sprints.

Alois was World Omnium Champion in Palma in 2007 and has strong track palmarés, with a Worlds Madison bronze as well as World Cup and European medals.

But he’s a big finisher on the road, too.

The Dukla boys keep it together and Alois finishes it off; Martin tells me that he’s seen SRM files for Alois which show 2,000 plus watts in sprints – that’s serious power.

He’s won this year in Poland, Azerbaijan, Austria and China – as well as his native Czech Republic.

They’re both sound guys, there’s no ‘prima donna‘ stuff from Eastern Europeans.

Zürich Six Day
Alois takes an interest in the other racing.

Zürich Six Day
Adam and Pete relax in the cabin.

Adam Blythe is also very easy to work with; Adam bailed out of the GB ‘Academy’ to follow his own path in Belgium, so he hasn’t been cosseted, unlike some we could mention.

It’s a while since Adam has been on the boards – although he was European U23 Team Pursuit Champion in his youth and won the Ghent UiV cup with Peter Kennaugh.

He arrived in Zürich, and then via separate routes, so did his bikes and BMC madison shorts.

Zürich Six Day
Adam’s new shoes.

He has cool new white Nike shoes, too – we’ve already told him that he might not go the fastest but he’ll look the best.

He’s proper ‘old school,’ keeping himself warm and grabbing naps as often as he can – we like that.

Zürich Six Day
Adam catches 40 winks.

On the subject of ‘old school,’ the race magazine has 38 year-old Danilo Hondo down as the ‘last of the Mohicans’ – the only big road name you’ll still find on the winter boards.

Zürich Six Day
Danilo Hondo.

And he’s still the coolest man alive.

On the subject of cool guys, deejay Peter Traynor, ‘Mr. Music’ stopped in to see us, with an; ‘och aye, the noo!

But he’s allowed to poke fun at us, as long as he has that soft spot for our favourite Gloria Gaynor tunes.

Zürich Six Day
The DJ here at the Six, Peter Traynor.

The first night passed without too much incident, albeit Kenny De Ketele and Adam’s partner, Wim Stroetinga hit the boards.

Zürich Six Day
Wim and Adam change.

Zürich Six Day
Adam’s tired.

At the end of the night, Dirk, our mechanic asked Adam; ‘on a scale, one to 10, how hard was the last chase?

Adam didn’t need to think for long; ‘9.5 !

Result - Zürich Six Day 2012

Final Standings, Profis – Schlussrangliste

1 De Ketele Kenny (BEL) / Schep Peter (NED) 190pts
2 Hondo Danilo (GER) / Kluge Roger (GER) 175pts
@ 1 Lap
3 Marvulli Franco (SUI) / Marguet Tristan (SUI) 302pts
4 Dillier Silvan (SUI) / O’Shea Glenn (AUS) 226pts
@ 2 Laps
5 Lampater Leif (GER) / Grasmann Christian (GER) 144pts
@ 7 Laps
6 Graf Andreas (AUT) / Müller Andreas (AUT) 56pts
@ 10 Laps
7 Hansen Lasse (DEN) / Hester Marc (DEN) 107pts
@ 12 Laps
8 Muntaner David (ESP) / Mora Sebastian (ESP) 110pts
@ 20 Laps
9 Stroetinga Wim (NED) / Blythe Adam (GBR) 91pts
10 Aeschbach Alexander (SUI) / Keller Jan (SUI) 75pts
11 Hacecky Martin (CZE) / Kankovsky Alois (CZE) 28pts
@ 25 Laps
12 Perizzolo Loïc (SUI) / Horstmann Samuel (SUI) 66pts


Ed Hood
Ed's been involved in cycling for over 45 years. In that time he's been a successful time triallist, team manager, and 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. 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

Guy East – The American Pro Crazy About the Six Days

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.

Berlin Six Day 2012 – Familientag

Sundays at German Sixes are and have always been 'family day' (Familientag) when the programme of sport and entertainment is held during the afternoon rather than in the evening or night. On a cold wind-chilled winter afternoon, local families came along to the Landsberger Allee Velodrome to enjoy the racing and pass on the tradition from one generation to the next.

A quick lap around season 2017/18’s Six Day Stats

With the 'kid on' London Six Day just finished, we thought you might like to peruse the season 2017/18 Six Day stats. There were six races: London, Gent, Rotterdam, Bremen, Berlin and Copenhagen...

Michael Mørkøv – No. 1 Madison Rider in the World

Nine gold medals at the Worlds for Team GB - wow! So, the rest of the World will be happy to compete for silvers at Beijing? Hardly! One man who'll be doing his best to deny Bradley Wiggins two gold medals in China is Denmark's Michael Mørkøv. He took bronze in the Madison at Manchester, last month partnered by compatriot and former world scratch champion, Alex Rasmussen.

Kenny De Ketele – “I need goals to aim for”

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.

Berlin Six Day 2013 – Day Four

First up on Sunday at the Berlin Six Day was the team picture, like one of those shots of the ‘class of 1955’ or whenever that they take at expensive schools. The only photos the guys I went to primary school with had taken were on an individual basis with the each of them holding up a card bearing their name and number.

At Random

Sarah Phillips – Scottish and British Champion in the 90’s

She’s Sarah Rowe these days but in the world of cycling she’s remembered as Sarah Phillips; Scottish Champion at 10 and 25 miles in 1988, 1990 and 1991 with Scottish records at 10 miles with 22:43, 25 miles with 57:18 and 50 miles with 2:00:51 achieved during 1990. Here’s her tale...

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.

The VeloVeritas Years – 2006: Jason MacIntyre, the British 25 Mile TT Champion

2006 in Bonnie Scotland we had a lot to cheer about as the late, great Jason Macintyre had a fantastic season, winning the British Circuit TT Championship and the 'Blue Riband,' the British 25 Mile TTl Championship to join the likes of Alf Engers, Sean Yates, Chris Boardman and Graeme Obree on the roll of honour.

Minor Details: Eneco 2010 Stage 4

Minor Details. Today was the first stage that the boys didn't have any specific job to do in the race. We had held the jersey for the first three days of the race, and will continue to fight out the general classification with Svein, but the stage today was quite flat, so it would not in any way effect the gc standings, meaning our boys finally had a low responsibility day.

The 44th Davie Bell Memorial Road Race 2009

Ross Creber delivered the win for the dominating Endura Race Team in the 44th edition of the Davie Bell Memorial Road Race. Team mate and reigning Scottish Road Champion, Evan Oliphant took 2nd, narrowly edging out visiting James Sampson of the Candi TV — Marshall’s Pasta team.

Copenhagen Six Day 2010 – Day One

It's 01:41 Day One at the Copenhagen Six Day 2010 and I've decided to rattle off a few lines before I succumb to the coma that surely awaits me. It wasn't vintage racing tonight; there wasn't much of a crowd, the whole bunch looked like it was pedalling in mud and Franco said he'd never seen Bruno struggle the way he did in the first chase.