Thursday, June 20, 2024

Grenoble Four Day 2012, Day Four: Iljo & Kenny Win, with a Doublette!


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Watching a dream die is never nice, but if it’s done quickly and clinically, then it’s humane, at least. Here at the Grenoble Four Day, Iljo Keisse and Kenny De Ketele were ruthless executioners in the last chase in the small hours of Sunday morning.

Grenoble Four Day
Kneisky and Coquard took a tremendous fight to Kiesse and De Ketele. Photo©Ed Hood

Bryan Coquard and Morgan Kneisky rode with panache and bravery, in what I believe was a 100% ‘straight’ finale.

Inside the last 50 laps of 180 the Belgians attacked – we were waiting for it.

Grenoble Four Day
Under pressure or not, Iljo Keisse rides his silky smooth line on the boards. Photo©Ed Hood

Keisse thunders round the track like he’s on a monorail, the ultimate stylist.

Grenoble Four Day
Kenny De Ketele. Photo©Ed Hood

De Ketele isn’t as smooth but the power is there – he has those super fit riders’ ‘roadmaps’ on his inner thighs.

They took the lap quickly, cleanly – beautiful to watch.

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The French guys start to look a bit desperate. Photo©Ed Hood
Grenoble Four Day
Bryan hurts. Photo©Ed Hood

The French countered, but were digging deep, if Coquard’s face was telling the truth, this night was perhaps the hardest he’s ever tried in a bike race.

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Morgan really tries. Photo©Ed Hood

Eventually they made the junction, gasping like fish, out of water and desperate for oxygen.

But it was of no consequence – the Belgians had done what only the real stars can do; when they made the junction with the peloton, they didn’t ease, took no ‘breather,’ simply rode straight ‘over the top’ to continue their infernal charge.

It was brilliant bike riding – and it spelt the end for the French, they had nothing left to give, they’d gone to the depths to take the lap.

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The winners after an amazing final madison, Iljo and Kenny. Photo©Ed Hood

The Belgians weren’t risking it on sprint points, not against the class and speed of the French – it was brute strength and experience which won the day.

Grenoble Four Day
Nolan heaves Marc into the race. Photo©Ed Hood
Grenoble Four Day
Nolan Hoffman. Photo©Ed Hood

And a shame that Marc Hester couldn’t quite coax Nolan Hoffman on to the podium – they lost out to the Italians Angelo Ciccone and Fabio Masotti.

The beautiful weather at the start of the race had given way to snow squals by Saturday night and it was close to a full house as the speaker did the introductions.

Grenoble Four Day
Tristan was paired with Guy for tonight’s racing. Points from their respective teams added together and halved, er, averaged. Photo©Ed Hood

The evening started on a ‘down’ note with our boy, Austin Carroll pulled out and his partner, Guy East was paired up with Swiss fast man, Tristan Marguet.

Tristan was originally teamed with Franco, but with Franco out because of illness, the organisers wanted a solid rider like Marguet in the last chase.

Austin had been improving as each day passed and was riding at least as well as the lower ranked French guys – but his mum, dad, sisters, brothers, girlfriend and workmates weren’t up in the stands…

Grenoble Four Day
Race Organiser Bernard Thévenet and the boys. Photo©Ed Hood

But Bernard Thévenet popped by to give Austin his prime cash personally, that was cool.

Our friend Vik was really captivated by the ‘contortioniste’ in the box we mentioned the other day – so I made sure I got a close up, just for him.

Grenoble Four Day
Cesar Pindo – a Man in a Box. Photo©Ed Hood

He is a remarkable chap.  Vik, that is.

Grenoble Four Day
The Keirin kicks in, complete with cameraman on the back of the bike. Photo©Ed Hood

The sprinters’ Keirin was another half-hearted affair – maybe I’m becoming a ‘track snob,’ but I wasn’t knocked out by the sprinting, this year.

Except for Jason Kenny that is – he is one fast laddie.

Next up was the 42 lap Points Race, six sprints, one every seven laps.

On the last day of a Six Day (or a Four Day, as here), races like this aren’t that hotly contested – most thoughts are about the 180 laps to come after midnight.

More sprinting; and no-one here looks like they’ll beat Jason Kenny come the Worlds in February.

The 20 minute Pro Chase is next, with too many teams on the zero lap for it to have been serious.

Grenoble Four Day
Lobster-sorting implements. We think. Photo©Ed Hood

Meanwhile the diners attack even more seafood, the tools are laid out for them as neatly as Dirk’s Campag spanners.

More sprints, those remarkable men twirl and dangle on their trapeze – then the De’il for ‘dossard rouge.’

Grenoble Four Day
Mechanic Dirk Dekesayer stays close in case Kenny needs anything when warming up for one last time here at Grenoble. Photo©Ed Hood

Kenny De Ketele takes it – I think he just wanted the flowers.

The Folies girls do their thing then it’s the Team Sprint.

Three laps, flying start with the Pro teams ‘launching’ their sprinter.

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Boom! Track record from the guys, Jason completing the team. Photo©Ed Hood

Kneisky winds it on the fence, he dives, it’s quick, Coquard, quicker still, Kenny, warp factor – track record: 34.643.

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Enjoying the spoils after that Mach 2 effort. Photo©Ed Hood


Coquard reminds me of the American rider Colby Pearce, presenting a tiny frontal area to the wind but with a good engine.

The 20 lap ‘Balustrade‘ Sprint, the string rides high, larks around, hands off, pull their jerseys up – probably best watched after a few beers…

Next up is an attempt on the track lap record – it’s a 10.7 which I think still stands to Florian Rousseau?

The cream of French sprinting is up on the boards, French, European and World junior and senior champions – plus Jason Kenny.

Conord, Palma, Bauge, Bourgain, D’Almedia – none can crack 11 seconds.

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Jason takes the applause. Photo©Ed Hood

Kenny, powering it round the fence, he dives, it’s quick – 10.9.

There was €7,000 on the table for the record.

Just Sireau to go – last man to go as befits the World Record Holder: 9.5 for 200 metres.

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Kevin winds it up. Photo©Ed Hood

He’s a big man and his momentum takes him down off the fence like a cruise missile dropping from a B52; 10.9 – but Kenny pips him.

That was good racing.

And a tall order for Kenny to get the lap record after four nights of racing.

Grenoble Four Day
The gold acrobats, Trio Laruss. Photo©Ed Hood