What's Cool In Road Cycling

Trackside Ed: Fixie Action from Copenhagen!

Trackside Ed: The ‘6 Day’ circus has moved from Berlin to Copenhagen and the Ed Hood caravan was hitched up for the ride. After the long journey across the frozen wastelands, the track-centre cabin is set up and it’s business as usual for the opening days of the ‘6 Days’ of Copenhagen.

The cannon fires, the smoke clears, then the drums, those damn drums!

But it’s OK, it’s just the intro to Paul Delicato’s 1976 Euro Disco smash, ‘Cara Mia.’ Yes, we’re in Copenhagen for the final six day of the season.

Home rider Jesper Morkov paired with Germany’s Christian Grasmann have the honour of taking the first lap of the race. The music is always good in Copenhagen as the 75 minute chase unfolds before us the Pussycat Dolls and Alice Merton provide a great sound track. Up in the stand there’s a little group of guys drinking beer and eating popcorn – as the chase speeds up so does their popcorn consumption. What it’s all about – having fun at the six day.

In a world of 20 and 30 minute six day madisons, 75 minutes is a long way and it doesn’t take long for the pressure to tell with riders all over the track; multiple Norwegian track champion Anders Oddli is paired with experienced Dane Sebastian Lander drops six laps but it could be worse, the Polish/German duo of Adrian Teklinski and Lucas Liss haemorrhage 11 omgange (laps) to eventual winners, Dutchmen Yoeri Havik and Wim Stroetinga.

Our cabin comes out of the mayhem in OK shape, Achim Burkart our German Derny specialist paired with rapid home youngster Matias Malmberg end the night on the zero lap in third spot. Our two big Poles, Bartosz Rudyk and Szymon Krawczyk only drop three laps whilst our German cabin comedian, Hans Pirius paired with compatriot Morita Augenstein lose six – could be a lot worse.

Guys to haul in and change, drinks to provide, trips to the big cabin so I miss the ladies scratch and most of the sprint series during which Hans picks up a lovely Milwaukee cordless drill as a present from his sponsor – nice. But another trip to the cabin to stash it.

The longest lap – I’ll explain tomorrow – goes to Adrian Teklinski, looking much better over one lap than he did in the chase. Johny Wakelin and ‘In Zaire’ can only mean one thing – Dernys. We win!

I trot round with the hat, towel and drink – nice one, good for cabin morale when you get a win. Show time, it kinda washed over me which means it must have been OK?

Ladies’ Derny. Flying lap time and some seriously good tunes – Steppenwolf, ‘Born to be wild’ and the Clash, ‘Should I Stay or Should I Go?’

‘Mister Pair Number Seven,’ Michael Morkov and young but talented Dane ‘on the way up’ Oliver Wulff Fredriksen [hereafter referred to as ‘Oli’] post best time of the night – to the delight of the crowd.

The ladies’ elimination falls to an English lass – sorry, no name, it gets busy with four guys, sometimes. . .

Michael also grabs the second Derny.

Just the ‘balustrade’ sprint where the guys lark around before a mad dash to the line, won by young Malmberg – and then. . . time to do the washing. Night one wasn’t so bad . . .

Day Two:
I spoke too soon about night one not being so bad; somehow we lost one of Szymon’s socks in the wash – our professional pride was severely dented. After night one’s presentation on the stage we’re back to a rolling presentation – good to loosen the legs. There’s a sprint series followed by an elimination; Sylvester’s ‘Mighty Real’ went down well as Michael Morkov scored a ‘surprise win.’

It was meant to be show time but those TV timings are cast in stone and a clip board toting Matt Rendell was on the case to make sure the big chase started on the mark – from a standing start on the finish line with a famous local comedienne firing the start gun.

Some great tunes in the mix tonight, including Haddaway, ‘What is Love,’ and Alice Merton, ‘Roots’ in front of a decent crowd. Not the toughest of chases but it’s easy to say that looking through a camera view finder; that said there were a lot of riders taking frequent drinks – always a sign of guys suffering.

We’re one of the few cabins which still hand up the ‘old school’ babies’ bottles for drinks, most now use bidons.

Kenny De Ketele and Moreno De Pauw took the chase. The ladies’ rode their devil then I pushed off Achim in the Derny – no flowers, Michael Morkov wanted it all tonight. The ladies’ ‘longest lap’ came and went – what’s that you say? What’s the longest lap? Riders assemble on the back straight they then have to ride into the home straight but not cross the start line, popping standstills is cool; but not all riders can do a standstill and if they cross the line then they’re out – and some of the others who can standstill have to put a foot down or land on the track.

When it’s down to a few survivors the judges will fire the gun and then it’s a mad charge to get round the lap and cross the line first. And we were into Derny Two, won by Netherlands Omnium Champion Roy Pieters, son of Paris-Tours and Netherlands Professional Road Race Champion, Peter Pieters. And on the subject of ‘sons of,’ the next race was the elimination which went to Matias Malmberg the son of Kim G Svendsen, multiple Danish track medallist and six day podium finisher. Malmberg rides with ‘our’ Achim and are combining well in the chases.

Show time washes over me then there’s the ladies’ points race before the flying lap – Malmberg and Achim go top, but like I said earlier, Michael Morkov is hungry tonight; he fires ‘Oli’ in and the young Dane hurtles to a 12.7 as AC/DC’s ‘Thunderstruck’ blasts – that used to be Michael and Alex Rasmussen’s signature tune. Those were the days. . .

Dario G’s ‘Sunchyme’ is the tune for the ‘balustrade’ sprint – Jesper Morkov and US track star, Daniel Holloway used to be the hi-jinx leaders but now that role has fallen to Malmberg. With the PA pumping, the peloton tracking the fence, hands off and the crowd on it’s feet, it’s cool.

And the night ends well as Achim and Malmberg take the chase.

I get back from giving Achim his hat and a towel to wipe down with just in time to snatch a [poor] picture of him on his lap of honour.

Kenny De Ketele and now Moreno De Pauw lead overall. We made bed for just after 02:00 am – Saturday afternoon session tomorrow, lovely!

Day Three:
The afternoon session, erm. . .

Not often Michael gets beaten on this track – but he did go down in the ‘walker bike’ race to a local specialist ‘walker.’ Oh yes. . .

And Szymon won the elimination, local fast man Malmberg under estimated the big Pole and WE got the flowers. Six x six laps sprints to start the evening sesh then straight into the elimination, won by Marc Hester.

On a Saturday night there are a lot of friends, family – and lovely girls – here for the local guys who all try that little bit harder, no wonder. . . The one hour chase wasn’t a killer but already you can see what’s what as far as final standings go:

Michael Morkov hates to lose, especially on these bards – and young ‘Oli’ his partner is quick.
But we wonder if he will he have the endurance to handle Monday night’s 75 K handicap chase?

Wim Stroetinga always looks wasted but with partner Yoeri Havik, they’re a rock solid combo, hugely experienced and very strong in the chase.

Marc Hester has won here before and this winter, partnered with world champion, Theo Reinhardt he’s having his best season ever – they could win it overall. And they won this chase. Those three teams look like the podium to us – the order? That’s another thing. . .

And whilst we can’t forget King Kenny De Ketele he can’t possibly be at his best, it’s only a couple of weeks since his crash at Rotterdam where he broke his collar bone and partner De Pauw didn’t have a good chase at all, tonight. It was pretty hectic after the chase – changes, drinks, more drinks and I missed Scottish girl jenny Holl winning the scratch.

I did trot round to get a picture of her getting her flowers – no dice, the presentation was for the overall ‘Ladies Cup,’ I did however get a pic of her big smile. Adrian won the ‘longest lap’ again and then it was time to push off Achim in the Derny – which went to Michael Morkov.

Malmberg won the elimination and Jenny got her flowers for finishing second in the Madison with team mate Lauren Dolan.

Show time with the ladies getting down to Kim Larsen.

Our Polish lads jersey sponsor came to visit – glad we kept those flowers for her. Michael and Oli won the flying lap, again and it was balustrade time then straight into the last chase. The boys come in for a pee, a glug of the bottle or a gel then it’s ‘Cara Mia time’ – that tune doesn’t seem the same at home on the laptop, you need the rumble of Contis and Vittorias every 20 seconds for it to be authentic. And wow!

We win – not a bad way to finish a long, long Saturday. . .

It was November 2005 when Ed Hood first penned a piece for PEZ, on US legend Mike Neel. Since then he’s covered all of the Grand Tours and Monuments for PEZ and has an article count in excess of 1,700 in the archive. He was a Scottish champion cyclist himself – many years and kilograms ago – and still owns a Klein Attitude, Dura Ace carbon Giant and a Fixie. He and fellow Scot and PEZ contributor Martin Williamson run the Scottish site www.veloveritas.co.uk where more of his musings on our sport can be found.

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