2009 Berlin Six Day race report

Sunday 25th January 2009

Berlin,   Sunday 25  /  01  /  09:

Three nights gone,  and we are at the half way point of the 2009 Berliner Sechstagerennen..

The local newspapers are full of articles about Erik Zabel,  about it being his last bike race,  about the media scrum that surrounds him while the other riders rest between races - and even about how he cried when admitted on TV in 2007 that he had taken EPO back in the 1990's. Interesting times.

Half way through the race, and the big boys have come out to play. Zabel and Bartko lead, with Risi and Marvulli close behind. The strong Danish pairing are in third place, with the German pair of Bengsch and Kalz in fourth and Roger Kluge and Kenny de Ketele in fifth. Everyone else is down on laps and down on points, and effectively out of the running.

Saturday night saw plenty of attacks in the Madisons (there are two madison races each evening: one of 30 minutes, one of 45). In the earlier race, Risi/Marvulli went on the attack, as did Rasmussen/Morkov. But it was the longer Madison that had the crowd really on their feet, when local favourite Erik Zabel won it on the line in the final sprint to put his team in the lead: "Robert let me rest a bit before the final sprint, he deliberately missed a change and did a double stint to keep my powder dry. And it was a good decision!" said Zabel.

On Sunday, the riders have a treat. After racing until late in the night on Saturday, they get reduced sleep, and race again on Sunday afternoon. Lucky boys. And to make sure they enjoy it, Sunday is "Family day", and all children are given a free whistle on the way in. A really shrill, piercing whistle. When you are a tired bike rider, short on sleep, I am told that this really makes your day :)

Oh, and did I mention motor pacing? Not Derny racing. All sixes have that (well, except Grenoble...). No, in Berlin, they get the big motors out. I am looking forward to seeing them again.


Berlin Six race standings after Saturday night (third night):





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