Maybe it was all those minds thinking; ‘I hate split sessions‘ that made the access panel in the track jam? In fact, it was an electrical fault, caused by someone who didn’t understand the procedure for shutting the big sliding panel in the track’s back straight that meant the Copenhagen Six Day Saturday afternoon session was cancelled.
The organisers made it a team by team presentation, around the slow running lane; they brought the kids’ judo demonstration forward – they even had Sebastian Donadio and Franco give the crowd a few songs (ouch!).
Anything to kill time; but still the panel stayed stuck.
Within a couple of minutes of the session being cancelled and the riders wandering off in search of chow, it was fixed – c’est la vie.
Still, it let me get all my words and pictures up to date.
I do these VeloVeritas diary pieces first thing, before breakfast; stumbling like a stunned duck from my weird dreamed coma to the shower and blasting myself back to reality.
All the pictures I do in the afternoon; in the lull between getting everything organised and the racing starting.
I’ve got a new computer, which takes a little bit of getting used to – especially if you’re an electronic dinosaur, like me.
The British laddies, Atkins and Mould are doing well in the UIV cup, that’s the three day UCI competition which runs just before the pro Six, to find young talent.
Paul Manning is looking after them, but he’s a quiet fellow who keeps himself to himself.
Another familiar face is that of former Six day star Marco Villa (23 wins), looking after his young Italian countrymen.
I remember him mentoring Alex Rasmussen in the young Dane’s first Six at Grenoble – I was impressed by the time he took to explain things, albeit he was pretty blunt, sometimes.
The evening had a rolling presentation, team by team. At Rotterdam, they kill the house lights, play footage of past editions of the race on a giant screen and track the string with spotlights; very dramatic.
It was a big programme for the evening – nine races. That’s the thing about the Sixes, they are more akin to a stage race than a track race; and the rider’s training programme has to acknowledge that – endurance is paramount.
When Hayles and Cav won the world madison champs, I asked Franco how they could achieve that when they were taking such a mauling at Gent [32 laps down; at least – if things get too embarrassing, the organisers turn off the lap scoring, in the Flemish capital]
Franco held up one finger and said; “One hour, Hayles is good for one hour in a madison but doesn’t have the endurance for a Six.”
On the subject of good Franco quotes, he was talking about a certain sprinter, who shall remain nameless, but who has spent a lot of time at the UCI sprint school in Aigle and isn’t really setting the international boards alight; “You can’t train a donkey to be a race horse – you just end up with a racing donkey!”
On of the races in the programme is a series of six sprints; the fourth one always goes to the wire and even Chris Hoy would have to turn on the turbo to win it – reason being there’s a huge bottle of nice red wine in a presentation case, on the line every night.
The pros are very safe and respect each other, but sometimes the finishes get a tad hectic when that vino is on offer.
Saturday night is ‘visitors’ night at Copenhagen; they flood into the track side cabins, well dressed, and sometimes well oiled.
Alex and Michael are the star attractions, they’re always polite, putting down their IPhones to chat, before burying their heads back in the next important SMS/email/app.
Alex is a good looking boy and you can see the middle aged ladies thinking; ‘if only I was a few years younger!‘
The music here is great this year, there is euro pop but mostly it’s American or British music; in the afternoons, they play a lot of soft soul – Aretha, Lou Rawls and the O Jays all cropped up yesterday.
Paradise for a 70’s man.
They even played The Motors, ‘Forget About You’ – a real New Wave gem.
I’ve been trying to educate our masseur, Martyn about proper music, but it’s a struggle – although he did remember that I’d told him Shaking Stevens was the biggest selling UK recording artist of the 80’s.
Martyn has fitted in nicely, even although I do seem to have become his personal photographer – like I said to him last night; ‘there are more pictures of you in this camera than there are of cyclists!’
The last chase was hard, again.
Jesper Mørkøv was slumped in the cabin after it, when I asked him how it was he made the gesture of opening a motor bike throttle; “every chase is full gas, maybe I must have a word with Bruno to calm things down, a little?”
It was a hard chase, maybe not spectacular but consistently tough.
A sign that it’s hard is when you hear shouts in the bunch, this means that the weaker guys are getting tired and making mistakes.
If you do something too silly or dangerous, one of the ‘heads’ will visit you later, for ‘a little chat’.
Alex and Michael won the last chase; Bruno and Franco lead overall.