It’s the last day of school today at the Copenhagen Six Day 2011; the Six Day circus goes to ground until October when — God willing — we head south to Grenoble with its blue skies, snow capped mountains, Follies girls, great bread and French riders who smile, shake your hand and give you a ‘ca va?’ every time they see you — they may not be fast but they’re nice guys.
It’s unlikely there will be any surprises tonight, Alex and Michael are well in charge; I hope that Jens and Marc hold on to second — they deserve it.
If there was a prize for ‘most improved riders of the year’ it would have to be the Danish number nines.
The Belgian, Dutch and German riders haven’t made much of a race of it; but they’re all tired — it’s been a long season, I guess.
It was the usual routine, yesterday — do the ‘runner stuff’ then sit down to sort out the words and pictures.
The walk to the restaurant happened late afternoon – we were seated with Colby and Sebastian Donadio, the chat was good and Seba bought us all cappuccinos.
He’s a cool guy, he has a cycling school back in Argentina and is in the process of cutting an album — he’s just changed producers, the original producer was ‘old school’ and couldn’t cope with Seba disappearing to bike races all the time.
The new guy is ‘fully digitised’ and keeps in touch by computer every day — sending Seba files with new arrangements and ideas.
The evening started with the usual sprint series but then visitors started to arrive to our little domain.
Bjarne Riis was first.
Tall, slim, tanned, well dressed and cool — most folks in Denmark have come round to think that he ‘did what he had to do’ in that era to win the Tour and the first ‘clean’ rider was probably down around 27th place.
He’s a quiet man and not into small talk; the net and magazine chat about how this season will be a disaster for him remind me of the famous Mark Twain quote; ‘The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.’
The young riders in the squad — our Michael for example — know they have a chance to shine and will grab that with both hands — and let’s not forget Richie Porte.
Next on the role of honour was pursuit legend — and I use the word correctly — Hans Henrik Orsted.
Hans was on the podium of the World Pro Pursuit Championship for eight (8!) years on the trot, not to mention an Olympic pursuit medal as well.
Bo Hamburger popped by too — still a very popular figure…
Before the evening got too serious, Kris and I took a wander up to Michael’s Par nr. 7 concession stand for a look — he’s done a good job, the merchandise is desirable and available on the ‘net, or through ‘the Scottish outlet’ (which seems to be me!).
The 500 TT and balustrade came and went and it was time for the main event — the 300 lap handicap Madison; with the Big boys give away up to seven laps on the minnows.
It wasn’t a bad race at all; the Russians were well in the mix, but then that Gap Band song came to mind; ‘You Dropped a Bomb On Me’ with one of them riding above the blue line trying to find his comrade in the melee, whilst the other rolled low on the track trying to come out of the ‘red.’
The PA pumped goodies all night and into the finale it looked like it was between Colby & Seba; Jesper & Nick Stöpler and Michael Smith Larsen & Yoeri Havik as the big boys hadn’t quite caught up.
Bur when Czechs Jiri Hochmann & Martin Blaha took themselves on to the ‘zero’ lap, it looked ominous — and so it proved, as Colby said; ‘they just smoked us, man!’