Kappes & De Wilde win on last lap!
New photos uploaded!
In a thrilling finale, the 1999 Berlin six day race was won on the very last lap by Belgium's Etienne de Wilde (at 40, the oldest man in the race) and his German partner Andreas Kappes. Heading into the final night, just four of the eighteen competing teams were on the same lap. Realistically, any of the four could have won, and Kappes / De Wilde started the night just five points down on race leaders Carsten Wolf and Jimmi Madsen. This is the second win of the season for Kappes and world madison champion De Wilde.
Although they lost out on the final night, local rider Carsten Wolf and his Danish partner Jimmi Madsen rode impressively throughout the race, and I for one look forward to seeing them ride together again.
I spent a very enjoyable weekend in Berlin watching the racing and updating my photo collection (follow the link further up the page if you want a look). Here's my report of Saturday night's racing in Berlin:
"Saturday night at the Berlin Six-Day is the "Golden Night", and a sell-out crowd of 10,000 spectators was treated to a comprehensive programme of races. The six-day race itself is interspersed with various other races, such as a sprinters competition featuring the likes of Anthony Peden, Florian Rousseau, Jens Fiedler, Eyk Pokorny and Jan van Eiden, or motor-paced racing behind the big motors with Carsten Podlesch playing the role of local Berlin hero and the last world champion.
In the six-day race itself, four teams are looking increasingly dominant: Etienne de Wilde and Andreas Kappes are probably the outright favourites after their win in the Leipzig Six in December, but Germanys Carsten Wolf and Denmarks Jimmi Madsen are also looking very good. Wolf is a Berliner himself, and is showing a level of form and determination that we havent seen in a long time. Bruno Risi and Kurt Betschart would also like to notch up a first win in Berlin, and Adriano Baffi and Anreas Collinelli are also on form.
The biggest race of the night, the on-hour Schultheiss Madison, was won byWolf and Madsen. On Berlins big (in six-day terms) 250 meter track, gaining a lap is a hard business. Most teams gained laps by working with other teams and doing a team time trial, and at the end of the session the six teams on the same lap had to fight it out in the 3 sets of sprints at the end. Wolf found his sprinting legs and just beat Kappes on the line for the final set of points of the evening.
The racing was not without incident. During the one-hour Madison, Jimmi Madsen fell off on the back straight, tearing his shorts and bloodying his left leg. But he was wuickly back on his bike and back in the action. Next to experience problems was German-based Australian Scott McGrory, who had flown back from Australia for this race, but picked up a touch of flu on the flight. His fever eventually got the better of him, and he abandoned the race and was taken off to hospital by the medical team.
Young German track star Robert Bartko is settling in well to racing at the top level, but last night he took a tumble during the last few laps of the main Madison, falling heavily and needing a couple of stitches from the race doctor to a gash above his left eye. He showed consideable courage to take part in the Derny race (won by De Wilde - Kappes) half an hour later.
It is also nice to see Denmarks Jakob Piil back in action. The winner of the 1997 Grenoble Six chipped his hip bone last August, and this is his first six-day race of the eason. He was a little apprehensive about it, and expected to take a bit of a pasting, but he is actually looking remarkably fit and showing a good turn of speed.
We left at 2:30 in the morning, but the racing still had another hour to go. The last riders left the track (after the medical controls) at 5 a.m., and they had to be back at 1 p.m. on Sunday to race again!"
In 1999, the Berliner Sechstagerennen (or 6 day race, to those who don't speak German!) moves forward a couple of weeks to early January. Last year's winner, Silvio Martinello, was unable to compete due to a knee injury, and his place was taken by young German trackie Robert Bartko (who took bronze in the individual pursuit in this year's world championship, and silver in the team pursuit). This will be Bartko's second six-day race, after learning the ropes in the recent Leipzig Six.
Unluckiest man in the race has to be Berlin's Mario Vonhof. During last year's race, his partner had to abandon with chicken pox. This year, partner Scott McGrory quit with a fever and had to be hospitalised. Still, every cloud has a silver lining: Sebastien Siedler abaondoned on the fourth night, so Vonhof has teamed up with Siedler's partner Christian Lademann, and at least he'll get to finish the race this year. Quite apart from pride, this also has an impact on a rider's pay packet. If you don't finish the race, you don't get paid as much (or, sometimes, you don't get paid at all; Mario Cipollini's contract for the Munich Six is rumoured to have contained a "no finish, no pay" clause).
This whole season has been marked by injury for the six-day pros:
World madison champion Matt Gilmore crashed heavily during the Herning Six, and is unlikely to race again until summer 1999 at the earliest. Gilmore's regular partner Etienne de Wilde has therefore been racing with Germany's Andreas Kappes. Meantime, Matt remains as determined as ever and I am confident that it will only be a matter of time until we see him in a rainbow jersey again.
Jens Veggerby has been out of action since getting clobbered by a car whilst out training last August. He sustained a broken collar bone that has been slow to heal, so his regular partner Jimmi Madsen has been riding with fellow Danish Team AcceptCard pro Tayeb Braikia for much of this six-day season. Jimmi is riding with Berlin's very own Carsten Wolf in the Berlin Six (OK, Carsten really comes from nearby Potsdam, but that's splitting hairs!).
Another talented Danish rider, Jakob Piil, who showed his promise by winning the 1997 Grenoble Six with Tayeb Braikia, has been off his bike for some time after sustaining a hip injury in a road race in August. Jakob is back in action in the Berlin six-day race, and he's looking good - plenty of zip in his legs, and back in the thick of the action with 7th place overall.
Fat Nick would like to wish a speedy recovery to all of the above.
1. Etienne De Wilde (Bel) - Andreas Kappes (Ger) 296 points
2. Jimmi Madsen (Den) - Carsten Wolf (Ger) 293 points
3. Adriano Baffi (Ita)- Andrea Colinelli (Ita) 264 points
4. Bruno Risi (Swi) - Kurt Betschart (Swi) 249 points
5. Lars Teutenberg (Ger) - Andreas Beikirch (Ger) 193 (+3 laps)
6. Stefan Steinweg (Ger) - Erik Weisspfennig (Ger) 179 (+4 laps)
7. Tayeb Braikia (Den) - Jakob Pill-Storm (Den) 172 (+4 laps)
8. Robert Bartko (Ger) - Marco Villa (Ita) 88 (+6 laps)
9. Olaf Pollack (Ger) - Gerd Döhrich (Ger) 128 (+11 laps)
10. Lorenzo Lapage (Bel) - Frank Corvers (Bel) 121 (+11 laps)
11. Rob Hayles (Gbr) - Andreas Walzer (Ger) 84 (+11 laps)
12. Guido Fulst (Ger) - Ralf Liehner (Ger) 95 (+16 laps)
13. Rik Van Slijcke (Bel) - Jens Lehmann (Ger) 70 (+16 laps)
14. Pierre-Yves Archambault (Fra) - Christian Weber (Swi) 82 (+25 laps)
15. Thomas Liese (Ger) - Ronny Lerche (Den) 29 (+26 laps)
16. Frank Kowatschitsch (Ger) - Roger Furer (Swi) 108 (+27 laps)
17. Christian Lademann (Ger) - Mario Vonhof (Ger) 55 (+32 laps) (composite team)
Incidentally, the Berlin six-day race now has its own web site at http://www.sechstagerennen-berlin.de/index.html Their site is available in any language you want, as long as it is German <g>.
To find out how to book tickets for the Berlin Six, check out Roger Hughes' booking info. And while you're here, why not have a look at some photos of cycle racing action from last year's six-day bike races?
Do you have any news about the Berlin Six? Drop an e-mail to if you do, or send him a fax at 0044 161 476 2914 - Fat Nick reads German, so grotty photocopies of results sheets and local newspapers are gratefully received!
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