This year saw edition 105 of the Berlin Six Days, VeloVeritas had the good fortune to be there helping soigneur Kris look after Messrs. Germain Burton (GB), Daniel Holloway (USA), Mathias Krigbaum (Denmark) and Mark Stewart (Scotland).
Here’s a selection of images from under the largest unsupported steel roof in Europe on the site of what used to be the Berlin STASI Headquarters.
Kris has always worked with the Danish riders and the tradition continues with Mathias Krigbaum, a former World Junior Madison Champion.
Mathias was partnered with experienced countryman Marc Hester who’s ridden 87 Six Days; this is Krigbaum’s fourth ‘race to nowhere’ and despite Hester’s criticisms, the youngster didn’t embarrass himself.
Krigbaum is a strong road rider too; last year he was with Lotto U23 for whom he took out an ‘Interclub’ race in Belgium – not an easy thing to do, they’re looked on as a stepping stone to a pro contract.
This season he stays in Belgium but the name on the jersey will be VeranClassic-AGO.
Christian Grasmann will be a little disappointed that he didn’t have a stronger partner than Nico Hesslich.
Hesslich’s father, Lutz is a sprint legend, Olympic and World champion but Hesslich junior has a ways to go before he even gets to the Worlds.
Albeit he rode well enough – but was flagging in the last chases.
Grasmann is a self confessed ‘hobby cyclist,’ his own Maloja team isn’t registered as UCI Continental but rides the Revolution Series and Grasmann is quite happy with his team’s programme.
Despite the fact that he doesn’t get a strong road core Grasmann is a Six Day regular, reliable and safe.
His form has been good this year and he won in Bremen with De Ketele.
Germain handles the inevitable, ‘I knew your father‘ gambit with aplomb and apart from being rapid, is great to have in the cabin with his dry wit and good humour – although his liking for Rapper ‘Stormsy’ reminds me that I ain’t ‘down with the kids no more.’
He stumbled in just one madison: but rode a strong first Six Day (London was only five days).
On this showing, VeloVeritas thinks that he and Mark could well become the first all GB team in our memory to win a Six Day.
Mark is a racer, a hard man to hold back but a manager’s dream – it’s always easier to pull on the reins than dig the spurs in.
He’s no respecter of reputations and if his rate of progress continues he’s headed for the very top on the track; world champion no less, says Kris.
Roger Kluge – you have to respect Big Rodge, he hauls that solid frame of his over the highest cols in Europe in the Grand Tours, works hard for his IAM team in the season and is one of a very few World Tour guys you’ll see in a Six Day.
He was strong here with Big Kalz and we think they were meant to win but “a certain keen pair of British youngsters” initiated a chase in the dying minutes to deny the Home Boys top spot on the podium.
De Ketele and De Pauw were delighted; they took the win – the big Berliners less so…