I remember interviewing Andreas Müller a year or two ago and him telling me that he’d be happy to emulate the career of German former Six Day rider Gert Dörich, who was the ‘Taxi Driver’ par excellence during his long career which took in 163 Six Day races.
‘Taxi Driver’ is the term used to describe solid, experienced riders whose job is to partner riders who are new to the world of the ‘races to nowhere.’
But Andreas’ sights are set higher, these days.
He was one of the animators of the 2012 World Points and Madison Championships and has been steadily edging his way up the classements.
A recent career best fourth in Bremen, paired with Dane Marc Hester has been rewarded with a ride partnering the man who has won more six days [33 off 114 starts] than anyone else who is still active on the circuit – Franco Marvulli.
Marvulli emerged victorious from Bremen, partnered with big, strong, fast German Marcel Kalz.
If Müller and Marvulli ride to form then a podium is well possible here in Berlin.
Müller’s first ride of note was a second place in the 1998 German team pursuit championship alongside Robert Bartko, going down to a team which contained pursuiter par excellence, Jens Lehmann.
Two years later, in 2000, Bartko and Müller combined again to take the team pursuit title; with Müller taking a stage in the 2000 Tour of Berlin, along the way.
In 2002 he won the German points championship – never an easy race to win.
A year later he took the 2003 German Madison title – and two World Cup madison wins with German madison specialist, Guido Fulst.
In 2005 he took the German points title again and in 2008 took the same title but in Austria, having changed nationality on residential grounds.
He also took the Austrian scratch and madison titles, that year.
In 2010 he won the three days of Aigle track event and over the years has built up a solid palmares of road wins and podiums from China via the Caribbean to the USA.
And the last two years have seen him become a force in the Six Days – witnessed by fourth in the 2012 World Madison Championship, third in the Australian Open Madison Championship, sixth in the Four Days of Zürich and then fourth in the Bremen Six Day.
We spoke to the 33 year-old on the eve of the Berlin Six Day.
How was Bremen, Andreas?
“Marc and I were fourth, I was happy with that.
“We’re the same style of rider; attacking – and we’re the same size so it makes for a good pairing.
“I’m getting closer to the podium and everyone who was at the six said we rode a good race.
Bremen is a technical track.
“It’s good for us because we’re not physically riders large riders, its small (166 metres) and very tight, but we’re experienced on it and like the smaller tracks – but it’s definitely the most technical track on the circuit.
How was the crowd?
“Better than last year, the organisers said that every day was up on last year – it wasn’t sold out but there was enough of a crowd to give a good atmosphere.
“People say that the crowds are going down at the Sixes – but they’re definitely on the way up in Bremen!
“They had a new idea there where we raced with an arm band which had a light attached – its new technology and helps the crowd understand what’s going on.
“The race organisation can illuminate the riders who are on a particular lap or to show who is contesting a particular sprint or leading.”
But no ride at Rotterdam?
“At Rotterdam they usually give the rides to the guys who rode in Amsterdam – and there are a lot of Dutch guys in the fields.
“I was riding the European track championships in Lithuania when Amsterdam was on.
“And of course everyone wants to ride every race – so you can’t get into them all.”
What about the trend to four day races – as has happened at Grenoble and Zurich?
“I have to say that maybe it is the way to go.
“In Holland for example, the races are sold out on Friday and Saturday nights, but not so good the other nights – people have to go to work.
“So maybe it’s better to have four good days rather than a six day with two good nights and four not so good nights?
“It depends on the city – but I think it would work in many places.”
Is there any word on new Six Day events?
“No, not that I have heard, but there was talk about Cologne coming back…
“We’re still waiting to see what will happen in the UK, with the enormous interest the success of their track squad has generated with the public, you must believe that a Six Day is possible in London or Manchester?
“Australia too – they have such a great tradition of team pursuiting that you have to think a Six Day would be possible and successful?”
The World Cups seem a bit ‘flat,’ this winter?
“It’s the year after the Olympics, there’s no focus and nations don’t want to spend their money.
“And it depends on the city; there are many cities who want World Cup racing – look at London, the tickets sold out in one hour.”
How did your summer go?
“I rode a lot of small European races and spent June in the USA, I raced at Trexlertown Velodrome every Friday; race director is the former Olympic sprint champion, Marty Nothstein.
“They pull in crowds of 2,000/2,500 every week to watch the show.
“I also rode some criteriums there and back in Europe for August I rode some small stage races – and even some stayer races.
“For the 2013 road season I’m with the Austrian Continental team KTM (Arbo Gebrider Weiss) – we have a good international road programme which I’m looking forward.
“In 2006 I rode stage races in the summer and enjoyed them – they’re good preparation work for the Six Days, you just have to top up the endurance with some track speed.”
It must be harder to train and prepare for the Six Days with the big gaps in the program?
“Yes, I rode Ghent in November then there wasn’t another Six for me until Bremen in January.
“When there’s a full calendar you just travel from race to race.
“I rode the European track championships in November, when Amsterdam was on then I had the Glasgow World Cup.
“After that I traveled to Australia to race and train in good weather before coming back for Bremen.”
You rode well in the Australian Madison Championships in Melbourne.
“Yes, third with Marcel Barth behind Kenny De Ketele and Leigh Howard; the race incorporates the Aussie madison championships but it makes it much more competitive and interesting with the international field.
“There are so many good Australian madison riders and it’s a really fast race.”
And you’re just back from Mallorca?
“Yes, I decided to go there between Bremen and Berlin so as I could guarantee to train in good weather.
“You can get a flat cheap in Palma at this time of year and the weather is so much better than in Northern Europe.
“I ride Berlin then Copenhagen and after that I’ll be preparing for the Worlds where I’ll ride scratch and the madison with Andreas Graf.
“We were fourth last year and would really like to go one place higher, this year!
“The two Six Days are good preparation.”
Lastly Andreas, thoughts on Armstrong?
“Not good for cycling – but I suppose with everyone talking about it then the decks are cleared?
“And it’s good he confessed, at last!”