Sunday, May 19, 2024

Diaries

Milan – Sanremo, 14 Years Ago…

Hard to believe but it's 10 years ago that we popped over to Italy to cover Milan - Sanremo. The day before the race we visited Ciclismo Masi in his workshop under the famous Vorelli Velodrome banking, we spoke to Lance Armstrong at his press conference, ate amazing pizza. Then on race day-morning we watched with interest as Dave Brailsford met Ernesto Colnago for a coffee and a chat about supplying equipment to his fledgling new team, Sky Pro Cycling and chatted to riders including eventual winner Mark Cavendish at the buses...

Rotterdam Six Day 2022 – the Last Three Nights

Saturday morning early, in the cabin at the Rotterdam Six Day 2022 – the cleaning ladies liked my choice of music and were giving me a little dance around their mops; I was going to go out and get some beers in but they said they had the rest of the stadium to clean...

Rotterdam Six Day 2022 – the First Three Nights

Those Venga Boys, they ‘Like to Party,’ the ‘speaker’ is getting excited; ‘ho, ho, ho !’ the bone-hard Contis rumble on the boards, the 1/8” pitch chains rattle – it’s good to be back, there’s nothing like a Six Day. A couple of weeks ago I was spectating at the Gent Six Day, right now I'm on the other side of the boards working in the track centre at the Rotterdam Six Day.

Back in the Flanders Groove at the Gent Six Day

It wasn’t just the Covid, it was more the quarantine we would have had to endure that kept us away from the Flatlands for the 2021 Gent Six Day and 2022 Opening Weekend; but like Kiss said; ‘We’re back, back in the New York Groove’ – let’s make that the ‘Flanders Groove.’

The “Flemish Strawberrycross”

Ed Hood was in Belgium last weekend for the Gent Six Day to see the farewell to ‘t Kuipke Keizer’ Iljo Keisse and when in Belgium in November you have to go to a cyclo-cross, so Ed and his pals visited the Telenet Superprestige Merksplas, the "Flemish Strawberrycross".

Kasper Keeps Cool in Kuurne Brussels Kuurne 2020

I love the drive from Gent up to Kuurne for the Kuurne Brussels Kuurne semi-classic... staring out of the car window at the fields, the canals, tree-lined avenues, the steeples, tiny concrete roads that would be great to explore on the bike. There was a little rain on the way up but by the time we got to Kuurne it was a mild, sunny morning; ideal for wandering down the main drag where the busses line up and checking out 2020’s new hardware.

Roadside at Het Nieuwsblad 2020

We're roadside at Het Nieuwsblad 2020; since the race went World Tour the start just isn’t the same; the buses used to line up in the street, you could look at the bikes right until start time and brush shoulders with the riders as they pedalled to the sign-on. Not now, whilst some of the buses park up outside, the majority park in the huge 30’s exhibition hall adjacent to the Kuipke Velodrome in Ghent...

Havik and Van Schip top the Copenhagen Three Day

From the very first chase there was little doubt about who was in charge of the Copenhagen Three Day 2020; Dutchmen Jan Van Schip and Yoeri Havik were the strongest men on the track. In the recent UCI World Cup in Milton, Canada Van Schip won the Omnium then teamed up with Havik to win the Madison – so we knew they were on form.

Bremen Six Day 2020; the Second Half

‘Easy like Sunday morning,’ said the Commodores – you got that one wrong guys. The racing here at the Bremen Six Day 2020 finished at 02:00 am with the guys back on those nice new boards at 12:35. In the meantime, the pee pails have to be emptied and disinfected; the washing done for four guys – each with shorts, three under vests, three jerseys, socks and mitts – then dried, folded and laid out...

Bremen Six Day 2020; the First Three Nights

Patti Smith is telling me at pain threshold levels; ‘because the night belongs to lovers.’ No girl! It belongs to that bed in the camper van which I’m using my last dregs of energy to reach. The racing may be over for the night at the Bremen Six Day 2020 but the party is 100% ON, Bremen isn’t called the ‘Party Six’ for nothing.

Rotterdam Six Day 2020 Finale

Ed parachuted in to the Rotterdam Six Day 2020 on Tuesday afternoon to help Kris break camp and load the camper in anticipation of driving up to Bremen and the Six Day which started there on Thursday evening. When you wander up the tunnel stairs and into the track centre at Rotterdam with the u23’s hurtling round, the lights blazing and the PA pumping it’s still damn cool...