Despite there being only eight six-day races on the winter calendar this season, the 1999 Grenoble Six day race is taking place at the same time as the Dortmund Six this year, and a lot of the "big boys" are at Dortmund, the first German six-day of the season. However, the Grenoble Six is a well-known proving ground for up and coming riders. Britain's Rob Hayles is riding the Grenoble six-day race, partnered by Swiss sprinter Franco Marvulli.
This year, the six jours cyclistes de Grenoble has set up its own web site (in French), although they don't seem to be updating the results very quickly. However, there is an option to watch the race live, and my spies tell me there are topless go-go girls providing late-night entertainment, so I may have to log on for a sly look once Mrs Fat Nick has gone to bed!
The winners of last year's Grenoble Six, Italy's Adriano Baffi and Andrea Colinelli, took an early lead on the first night. World madison champion Juan Llaneras is chasing them in second spot, but is not riding with his partner from the world Madison title because the riders for these six-day races were booked ahead of the world track championships (which have shifted from August to October this year), and the other half of the title-winning duo is riding the Dortmund Six this week.
On the opening night, last year's winners Adriano Baffi and Andrea Colinelli were in the lead, and they held this through the second night's racing. By the half way stage after the third night it was a different picture, though, with Spain's world Madison champion Juan Llaneras and his partner Miguel Alzamora leading the race. Which is a lot better than Llaneras' partner in the world Madison race, Isaac Galvez, is faring in the Dortmund six. Partnered with an inexperienced Spanish six-day rider, Galvez is virtually last in the Dortmund race.
We must also remember that this is the only six-day race on French soil. France, of course, likes to maintain that it is the only country in the world interested in dissuading cyclists from taking performance-enhancing drugs. So, in each of the last two years, one rider competing in the Grenoble Six (phew! I got it right; I nearly wrote "scapegoat"!) has been accused of taking drugs. Specifically, of taking nandrolone. In the first case, the rider was subsequently found to be innocent, whilst last year this allegation ended a rider's career despite his firmly maintained assertion that he had taken nothing. Fat Nick has put his thoughts down on paper (well, on his web site) for you to read. Comments welcome. Oh, and there is a rumour that the sample beaker has been washed ahead of this year's event....
During a closely fought Grenoble Six, three different teams led the race at various stages. Indeed, the Danish pairing of former Grenoble winner Jakob Piil and Michael Sandstod were leading right up to the final Madison, where they lost the final sprint. The two Danes also took second place in the world Madison title race during the track championships in Berlin, but Piil is not riding any further six-day races this winter, preferring to concentrate on preparing for next year's road season. I hope we'll see you back on the track before long, Jakob!
1. Adriano Baffi (Ita) - Andrea Collinelli (Ita) 320 points 2. Jakob Piil (Den) - Michael Sandst°d (Den) 312 points 3. Miguel Alzamora - Juan Llaneras (Esp) 264 points Two laps down: 4. Lorenzo Lapage (Bel) - Franck Corvers (Bel) 236 Three laps down: 5. Robert Sassone (Fra) - Jean-Michel Tessier (Fra) 231 Four laps down: 6 Jens Lehmann (Ger) - Tayeb Braikia (Den) 243 Eight laps down: 7 Andy Flickinger (Fra) - JÚr˘me Neuville (Fra) 260 Ten laps down: 8 Jean Michel Monin (Fra) - Carlos Da Cruz (Fra) 149 Eleven laps down: 9 Robert Hayles (Gbr) - Franco Marvuli (Swi) 150 Thirty laps down 10 Lazlo Bodrogi (Hun) - Jean-Louis Bourgon (Fra) 142 Forty laps down: 11 Jacky Durand (Fra) - Pascal Chanteur (Fra) 166 Fifty laps down: 12 Laurent Genty (Fra) - Francis Moreau (Fra) 125
To find out how to book tickets for the Grenoble 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 Grenoble Six? Drop an e-mail to if you do, or send him a fax at 0044 161 476 2914 - Fat Nick reads French, so grotty photocopies of results sheets and local newspapers are gratefully received!
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