Just about everyone – except us – was late to the track on Sunday afternoon for the Copenhagen Six Day 2019; no surprise after a late Friday, early Saturday then late Saturday.
There was a definite lethargic vibe in the cabins not helped by us losing Achim to a bad throat – he came in to see the doctor and organiser but looked terrible and Kris took him back to the hotel.
Sunday is about the kids and there was a big crowd there with lots of mums and dads in attendance with their future Mørkøvs/Hesters/Hansens…
As Kris pointed out to me, one of the reasons Danish track cycling is so strong – the Danes dominated the Team Pursuit and Madison World Cups this winter – is that they start them young and give them races to ride.
If you check the results of the ‘Mini 6’ you’ll find Jimmmi Madsen – current joint race organiser and fourth in the Danish all time Six Day rankings with nine wins and 43 podiums in total – way back in 1983; now retired German Six Day ‘Big Beast’ Robert Bengsch in 1996 and in 1998 a certain Marc Hester.
The Team Elimination which closed the Mini went to the splendidly named Theodor Storm and Magnus Ritz.
‘Riders on the Storm’ and ‘Putting on the Ritz’ will surely be their signature tunes when they ride the Elite Six Day?
We had another of those daft ‘walker’ races with team seven v. team nine – but despite Hester handing over a lead to Reinardt, Wulff came back strongly to maintain ‘par # 7’ superiority.
There were two Derny races and the Flying Lap – won by Mørkøv/Wulff, who else? – but I must confess to spending a good chunk of the afternoon with the Kreder brothers in front of the Dutch mechanic’s laptop watching events from Bogense where a rampant Mathieu Van Der Poel emulated his father and took the world title.
Malmberg put on his best pink cowboy hat on for the ‘Balustrade’ – and not content with leading the nonsense he went on to win the sprint at the end from Norwegian, Oddli – the man with the shoes.
To close the afternoon there was a one hour chase – too much for a Sunday afternoon, we thought – and sure enough it was a pretty low key affair won by Jesper Mørkøv & Christian Grasmann.
Kenny De Ketele & Moreno De Pauw lead overall but that looks set to change after Monday night’s 75 kilometre handicap madison – 300 laps…
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Messy; that’s the word I’d use to describe what should be the jewel in the Copenhagen Six Day crown; the Monday night 75 kilometre, 300 lap handicap Madison – run this year as a memorial to recently departed Danish Six Day star, Gert Frank.
The house was full, the vibe good and everyone was looking forward to what is usually a great race.
The big teams ‘give away’ up to six laps to the minnows with final chase standings counting not just on the night but overall too.
No one can mess around and Michael’s face as he pulled away from the start line said it all.
At 225 laps to go it was still ‘limit men’ Oddli/Lander leading with Michael turbine smooth and Kenny De Ketele firing Moreno in with huge slings despite that recent collarbone breakage.
With 185 to go there was the pistol shot ‘crack’ of a tyre at very high pressure exploding; Jesper Mørkøv was on the deck with the race neutralised for the medics and track inspection – a big crash can mean splinters lifted out of the boards, not something light track tyres enjoy.
Simultaneously our boy Hans came down off the track; no legs and bad breathing, perhaps the start of a virus?
Whatever it was, he was out.
The race wasn’t long back in effect when, with 162 to go Yoeri Havik and Wim Stroetinga came down hard after a fluffed change mid-banking and there was another neutralisation.
Stroetinga lay motionless on the track for what seemed like an age but we heard later from hospital that it was ‘only’ a dislocated shoulder – but concussion too, I would wager.
With 162 to go, Havik returned to the fray, partnering Christian Grasmann who had been riding with Mørkøv Junior, now out for the night after landing hard on his back.
The Kreder brothers were in the lead at half distance and would go on to win but that second big stoppage seemed to knock the heart from everyone and there was no real fire in the chase.
That said, the two winning Dutchmen rode a solid, professional race, closing down every move from young Danes Kron and Stokbro – who many saw as favourites for the race – and deserved their win.
The two big breaks in proceedings – whilst not good for spectators in the hall or on TV did however mean that the younger riders, not used to the distance, got two significant breaks to drink, have a gel and recover – especially helpful for Michael Mørkøv’s 18 year-old partner, Oli Wulff.
‘It’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good.’