Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Grenoble Six Day 2006 – Fourth Night


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It was musical jerseys last night at the Grenoble Six Day 2006; Franco and Alex Aeschbach took over in the lead, Michael and Alex Rasmussen swopped the leader’s jerseys for the points leaders maillot vert but Jozi and Martin lost the combine jersey to DeFauw and Van Mechelen of Belgium.

Rumour control has it that Monsieur DeFauw ran two red lights in his car last night after the race and was “pulled” by the police.

Grenoble Six Day 2006
Marco works on Franco’s Koga.

The story continues that when he reached for his licence in his inside jacket pocket, the ‘heat’ thought he was going for a shooter and hauled him out of the car at gun-point. He’s too important a person to talk to a humble runner like me so maybe this will have brought him back a little closer to earth.

Talking of elevation, Franco arrived early for breakfast this morning, grabbed his road bike, kit and Marco, his less than slim mechanic, then bolted for L’Alpe D’Huez, which is only about an hour and a half from here. We’re taking bets on whether Marco survives.

At the moment I’m waiting to interview twice Tour de France winner, Bernard Thevenet, he won this six twice in his prime some 30 years ago.

He’s whizzing around the track just now in a training string with world points champion, Peter Schep of Holland. He has no problems catching the last wheel when he swings off but he can’t crouch as low as he used to – all that fine French cooking and vin rouge. The wi-fi in the stadium wasn’t great today but better than yesterday.

Grenoble Six Day 2006
It is exactly who it says on the jersey.

Copy is no problem, I do most of it on the BlackBerry anyway, you grab a bit of time when you can and just rattle-away.

Pictures are more of a problem though, after you have transfered them from the camera to the laptop and labelled them, you have to send them. If there’s no wi-fi then you have copy them onto a memory stick and head for an internet caff, but even that isn’t fool-proof, sometimes there are no USB connections to be had. The wi-fi here is erratic but after much cussing, I got all my pics away.

I finally caught-up with Monsieur Thevenet in his office, in a gesture typical of the man he came around to sit on the same side of the desk as me, in his stocking soles. His English isn’t great and my French is downright bad but we got there in the end. There’s not a trace of an ego about the man even although it was his 1975 Tour de France win which heralded the end of the Merckx era.

Meanwhile, it’s 18.37 and I’m waiting on my pizza from Natalie’s pizza van which stands two minutes from the stadium I had hoped to sneak a beer at Le Clemenceau – my adopted bar, it’s not cheap at euros 2.20 for a presion – the same beer in Flanders would cost one euro – bit it hits the spot.

Unfortunately it was shut – Sunday night in France, that’ll be when most wives getmurdered because husbands can’t go up the pub. The pizza was a cracker, just what you need to look after five six-day guys until 2.00 am.

Grenoble Six Day 2006
The Folies in full flow.

It’s 12.20 and the Paris Folies girls are doing their stuff, topless – naturally.

I got my first good look at them tonight, the power failed in the track-side cabins and I had to go up to see Mr. Biondii at the start line.

The Folies were in full flight in the track centre and whilst it’s not my thing, they are great at what they do.

There was a row after the last Madison and even the sight of all that silicone-packed flesh can’t lift the mood among some of the guys.

An ill-tempered sort of a night with little Italian Marco Villa the whinger-in-chief. Marco is no spring chicken but he’s still a very solid Six-Day man, though he does always seem to be giving someone a tongue lashing. We got finished early tonight – 2.30 am.