Home Race Six Days Behind the Scenes at the Six Day London 2015

Behind the Scenes at the Six Day London 2015

Ready Photo©Ed Hood

Second place finishers and race revelations at the Six Day London, Chris Latham and Ollie Woods are both products of the British Cycling ‘system’ – seen here with Martyn the other soigneur I work for.

Chris and Ollie with Martyn. Photo©Ed Hood

There were a number of factors which contributed to their result – they’re familiar with the venue and the track is big, fast and non technical unlike Gent and Bremen which take a bit of getting used to.

The five (not six) day format, short chases and big track mean that bigger gears can be ridden – right up the street of team pursuiters who rarely drop below 104” these days.

All that said, Keisse, De Ketele, Van Hoecke and Co. all take bit of handling whatever the venue and gear ratio.

Morgan Kneisky’s Look. Photo©Ed Hood

World Madison Champion, Morgan Kneisky’s LOOK was for me the nicest looking machine in the race, I’ve even got used to the adjustable stem.

Mechanic Brent at work. Photo©Ed Hood

Brent started off helping Dirk in the Gent Six a few seasons back, now the affable young Belgian has his own riders and is slowly climbing the ladders of acceptance on this ultra-conservative circuit where it can take several years just for someone to nod to you.

Chris Lawless. Photo©Ed Hood

Chris Lawless was in our cabin with Czech Denis Rugovac; he’s another BC ‘graduate’ – he’s down with the ‘Wiggo’ look but Kris thinks there’s more of a Ned Kelly thing going on…

Etienne Illegems. Photo©Ed Hood

‘You never take MY picture, Ed!’ Etienne Illegems said to me the other day.

Problem solved – soigneur, Etienne is father of former Sky head mechanic Ken Illegems with whom he runs the Illi Bikes team in Belgium.

He also works for the Belgian National Squad and Topsport teams – he’s pictured here with our rider, Seb Wotschke’s partner Achim Burkart.

Kris and Mo Burton. Photo©Ed Hood

Kris was Maurice Burton’s soigneur ‘back in the day’ – including the 1980 SKOL Six in London, the last Six Day held in the UK.

Maurice now owns De Ver Cycles and still rides the bike most days.

Niki Terpstra. Photo©Ed Hood

Niki is a quality rider; one of the best in the world, and a fact he’s only too well aware of – he was colossally strong in Amsterdam last year and with all those World Tour races under his belt is in great shape again for this winter.

TV time for Latham and Woods. Photo©Ed Hood

Latham and Woods slipped easily into the role of ‘home heroes’ taking the TV interviews in their stride but remaining endearingly unaffected by all the fuss.

‘Rasi’ throws in Marc. Photo©Ed Hood

On paper a strong pairing, Alex Rasmussen and Marc Hester but they couldn’t make the podium in London.

Hester is a Six Day stalwart who’s won in Copenhagen with Keisse; Rasmussen has won in Berlin, Copenhagen, Gent and Grenoble – as well as winning the World Madison Championships – all with Michael Mørkøv.

But Michael now rides with brother Jesper; the brothers long term dream being to win in Copenhagen – but not in 2016, Michael doesn’t ride his home six.

Katusha management don’t have too much time for Six Day palmarès.

Daniel Holloway. Photo©Ed Hood

Daniel chats here to Michael Gollner, the man behind Madison Sports, the company which runs the race.

Madison have also bought the Berlin Six Race and the ‘cross over’ should be good for London – there’s certainly room for improvement…

Iljo Keisse. Photo©Ed Hood

With Michael Mørkøv, the most stylish man on the boards and perhaps the last of the ‘pure’ Six Day men along with Kenny De Ketele.

A Giro stage winner and an integral part of the ‘QuickStep Winning Machine’ he’s the most successful man still on the boards and looks to shaping nicely to snatch his ‘King of the Kuipke’ title back in Gent, next month.

Mark Stewart. Photo©Ed Hood
Germain Burton and Mark Stewart pose for the camera. Photo©Ed Hood

Great to see a Scotsman riding a Six Day – we can’t think of a Scotsman who has ever ridden a pro Six; albeit the late John (Clanky) Clark & Alan Miller did ride the amateur Six Days in London in the 70’s and we also remember Tom Annabel riding amateur Sixes on occasion in the 90’s.

Mark rode this with Maurice Burton’s son, Germain and put on a strong showing, delighting the home crowd; it’ll be interesting to see if the winter contracts come their way – and if BC allow them to ride Six Days.

Warriors. Photo©Ed Hood

The track is above the centre level at Lee Valley so you have to climb the ramp to go into battle; it’s a nice image – here Mark Stewart and Chris Latham march upwards to meet their fate.

Alex Rasmussen. Photo©Ed Hood

Some riders are more photogenic than others; Alex Rasmussen is always a good subject, a physical rider with a fine line in facial expressions.

Michael Mørkøv. Photo©Ed Hood

‘Razi’s’ former partner in crime, Michael Mørkøv is the exact opposite of Alex; smooth as silk and impassive – the most stylish man on the boards.

Our Denis with Jimmi Madsen. Photo©Ed Hood

Our Czech boy Denis Rugovac is all smiles here; Copenhagen promoter Jimmi Madsen has just signed him for the big pre-New Year track meeting at Ballerup.

Kris chats to Eric Weispfennig. Photo©Ed Hood

German, Eric Weispfennig is a former World Madison Champion – with Stefan Steinweg in 2000 – now he’s the organiser at Bremen and over in London inspecting the merchandise; here he chats to Kris about Six Days gone and those yet to come.

Kenny signs his Copenhagen contract. Photo©Ed Hood

Jimmi Madsen was a busy boy in London; Kenny de Ketele signs on the dotted line for him for Copenhagen 2016.

Kris, Cav and Martyn are all smiles. Photo©Ed Hood

Cav was well chilled in London, happy to chat and have his picture taken away from the stresses of HAVING to win – and Brian Smith won’t be nearly as scary in 2016 as Patrick Lefevre has been for the last two years.

Martyn and his charges. Photo©Ed Hood

Martyn again with his boys, Ollie and the two Chris’s; all three performed admirably in London and there was much talk of more contracts – mind you, I’ve heard people chat about unicorns since I was a wee boy but never seen one yet…

Photosport International’s John Pierce. Photo©Ed Hood

I’m ‘someone who owns a camera,’ John Pierce is a professional photographer who’s shot everything there is to shoot, including the last Six Day in London in 1980.

He was here for the last night at the Olympic Velodrome – we look forward to seeing his images.

The sprinters rock the house. Photo©Ed Hood

The sprinters all always up for a bit of fun and ‘got down’ to the ‘toonz’ – just a pity that the DJ was from club land and didn’t understand what the Six Day scene is all about, hopefully the organisers will go see a few more Six Days over the winter and get a feel for the sounds that suit.

Peter Jacques holds Denis. Photo©Ed Hood

If there’s a big track meet then Pete Jacques is never far away – either involved with track building/maintenance or putting fields together.

Here he’s pushing off Denis Dmitriev in a sprint heat – the Russian was patently a cut above the rest but it doesn’t do for one man to win everything.

Dan throws Jake in. Photo©Ed Hood

Daniel has ridden the Sixes for a good few years now and knows the ropes; he’s accepted by riders and promoters as a solid practitioner – and most importantly, he’s safe.

Jake Duehring is an omnium rider and hasn’t ridden as many Six Days as ‘Hollywood‘ but he looks the part and a decent all US partnership should always get rides – the Continentals like that stars & stripes/Springsteen vibe.

Gijs Van Hoecke. Photo©Ed Hood

Iljo’s partner, Gijs Van Hoecke – with whom Kenny De Ketele won the World Madison Championship in 2012 – is one of the ‘new wave’ of young trackmen who have rejuvenated the Belgian boards scene – as well as Van Hoecke, there’s the man who won here, Moreno De Pauw, Jasper de Buyst and Otto Vergaerde.

They should all be at Gent – vying to remove Iljo and Kenny’s crowns…

Kenny De Ketele. Photo©Ed Hood

The rainbow jersey changed Kenny De Ketele, he became much more self confident and approachable.

His win with De Bust at Gent last year over Iljo Keisse and Mark Cavendish was straight out of the top drawer with the final chase ‘for real’ and savage.

Despite the fact he’s been around ‘forever’ he’s only 30 years-old so we can look forward to that physical style of his on the boards of Europe for a few years yet.

Michael’s bike is ready. Photo©Ed Hood

Michael Mørkøv’s Dolan gets it’s winter coat on for the journey to chilly Gent where the soon-to-be-Katusha man rides with Iljo.

Will the smooth pedalling Iljo and Michael coax their Dolans to the win – or will Kenny and Jasper bludgeon those Merckx to a repeat?

It’ll be fun finding out…

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