Thursday, May 30, 2024

Copenhagen Six Day 2010 – Day Four


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I decided not to mention the demise of Franco Ballerini in my reports; the Copenhagen Six Day is a joyous thing and it’s hard to write about a tragic death and be upbeat.

All I would say is that he was a man; any Italian who can come to the North and win the biggest races, has my respect.

His work as Italian boss was excellent; probably the best drilled national team in the World.

Vai con Dio, Franco.

* * *

Copenhagen Six Day
Michael Smith Larsen listens to the Capo.
Copenhagen Six Day
Michael Sandstod.

Sunday is an early finish – 18:00 – at Copenhagen, but it’s still a bit of a sore one because of the early start.

The pro racing commences at 14:25; I got to bed at 02:00, rose at 08:00, wrote up my VeloVeritas diary, prepared for my interview with Daniel Holloway and edited the Day three pics.

I’d scheduled breakfast for 10:30 and to meet Jacob Mørkøv at the track for 11:00, to sort out the kit; I was in the cabin bang on time and Jacob wasn’t far behind me.

Copenhagen Six Day
Alex dislocates Martyn’s arm.

He’s a huge help, he knows all the Danish guys, having raced a bit himself and is familiar with their kit.

Copenhagen Six Day
Daniel Holloway.
Copenhagen Six Day
Chicken Little.

I was supposed to meet Daniel Holloway around an hour before the racing started, but the power died in the cabin and I had to get hold of the maintenance guy and be on hand to explain; ‘electric kaput!

The fact that it was the power was a huge relief; initially I thought I’d broken the kettle.

My mind was racing ahead to what Kris would say; it would have been a wheedling-and-a-half.

I caught up with Daniel about 15 minutes before the rolling presentation but after only a few questions, former Copenhagen Six winner and now race official, Jimmi Madsen arrived with … a chicken suit, for Daniel.

I’ll come back later, dude‘ I said as I left him to struggle in to yellow feathers.

His team mate, Colby Pearce summed it up best; ‘what the f**k is that?

‘Hollywood,’ as they call him, then did the whole of the rolling presentation in the chicken suit – to the delight of all.

I think he’s sealed his 2011 Copenhagen contract, with that one.

Extrovert though he is – I caught up with him later, to finish the interview – he’s an articulate, sharp guy, who knows what he wants to do.

Wasn’t it hot in that suit, Daniel?‘ I asked.

Yeah, after about four laps, I said to Colby, “I don’t know if I’m gonna make it!” but I managed it, somehow.

Copenhagen Six Day
Daniel, inexplicably, in his chicken suit.

He’s a one off – albeit I have received correspondence from Dave Chapman that the Bissell man’s socks are too long and I’ve to ‘have a word!’

And the next time someone tells you that the sixes are a “fixed,” ponder these stats from Daniel’s computer for the previous night’s madison – Distance covered in one hour: 57 kilometres. Highest speed achieved during the race: 68 kph. Maximum cadence: 161. Gear: 50 x 15 – piece of cake.

The atmosphere in the stadium was great today; virtually sold out, except for the new higher tiers, added for the Worlds.

There were hundreds of kids – and Postman Pat – and the buzz was good.

Copenhagen Six Day
Postman Pat.

The riders respond to that; it’s always hard to get a bunch to give it ‘full gas’ in a funereal atmosphere.

Some of the choices of music are inspired, for the dernys, they play; ‘In Zaire’ by Johnny Wakelin, it’s an an old tune but it suits the event perfectly, with the thunderous drums; ‘…seven rounds of torture, there…

We ticked off the last thing Martyn wanted his picture taken, whilst doing … pushing off in the derny.

The Nikon battery went flat soon after – it’s all the snaps I’ve been taking of him!

Copenhagen Six Day
Martyn pushes Franco off.

There was a surprise in the flying lap; Alex and Michael didn’t win – our boy Daniel Kreutzfeldt with his partner, Leon Van Bon took it with 13.161 to the Danes 13.165.

Van Bon has done a good reinvention job on himself; with his glory days of Dutch champion, Tour and Vuelta stage winner behind him, he’s turned himself into a Six Day man.

He was on the podium at Grenoble and won at Appeldoorn with Bartko.

His soigneur is his father-in-law; a good ploy for keeping the temptations of the flesh at bay.

Copenhagen Six Day
Van Bon.

The first time I was at the Berlin six day, I noticed a woman permanently sitting outside Andreas Kappes’ cabin.

Who’s that?‘ I asked a mechanic; ‘That’s his wife,‘ came the reply; ‘she’s here to make sure he behaves himself with the girls!

How many sixes does she go to?‘ I continued; ‘All of them!

Copenhagen Six Day
Big Bob leads the ‘tattie chase’.

The last chase looked good for the fans, but was actually a ‘potato chase’ – an easy one.

The term ‘potato chase’ comes from the old days when the public used to put primes up for the riders to go after. A wealthy local business man might put up a big cash prime for the next lap gain, for the kudos of a name check. But an old farmer with hardly a spare franc in his pocket might just bring in a bag of spuds.

Whilst the big riders weren’t interested, those tatties would be more than welcome as a prize by the minnows in the field and they’d race for them – hence; ‘potato chase.’

Copenhagen Six Day
Daniel Kreutzfeldt chills.

It just wouldn’t be possible to ride every chase at ‘full gas’ – much as the organisers would like it – or many riders wouldn’t get through the race.

This is Bruno’s last race and there was a wee soiree in his cabin after the race, to which – as his partner, Franco’s runner – I was invited.

I enjoyed a glass of wine and made my apologies – I can recognise an impending, ‘heid like a burst couch’ when I see one.

‘Eddy no mates’ headed back up to the track to avail himself of the wi-fi and send my pix over to Martin at the VeloVeritas HQ for your enjoyment – hope you like them.

Copenhagen Six Day
Martyn and Franco.

It’s 08:15 on Monday and I’ve just received an email from John Hardie with the questions he wants me to ask Danny Clark; I’d better get to work on that.

Ciao, ciao.


Sprint 1

1 Jens-Erik Madsen / Marc Hester (Den) 5 pts
2 Robert Bartko / Iljo Keisse (Ger/Bel) 3
3 Bruno Risi / Franco Marvulli (Swi) 2
4 Sebastian Donadio / Tristan Marguet (Arg/Swi) 1

Sprint 2

1 Alex Rasmussen / Michael Mørkøv (Den) 5 pts
2 Léon van Bon / Daniel Kreutzfeldt (Ned/Den) 3
3 Alexei Shmidt / Jiri Hochmann (Rus/Cze) 2
4 Andreas Müller / Jesper Mørkøv (Aut/Den) 1

Sprint 3

1 Alexander Aeschbach / Michael Færk (Swi/Den) 5 pts
2 Sebastian Donadio / Tristan Marguet (Arg/Swi)