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Trackside Ed: ‘Wonderful Wonderful’ Copenhagen!
Roadside PEZ: The final '6 Day' of the 2017/18 winter season was in Copenhagen and PEZ-man of the indoor boards, Ed Hood, was in the Danish capital for the action and the back-stage fun. Bikes, boards, hand-slings and sprints - 'Wonderful wonderful' has it all!


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Copenhagen, the last six day of the winter season. Michael Sandstod, the organizer, always kicks thing off in style with a real miniature cannon blast which produces an unbelievable amount of smoke, smell and noise.

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The first of our charges – big Nico Hesslich, son of 80’s sprint legend, Lutz Hesslich and a former German Madison champion in his own right. He was partnered with Sebastian Lander, a former junior world champion on the track and winner of the Danish U23 and Elite Road Race Championships in 2012. He landed a contract with World Tour team BMC, but his progression stalled and these last few years he’s been riding at Continental level.

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Adrian Teklinski of Poland won the World Scratch Race Championship last year but perhaps doesn’t get the recognition he deserves. The Polish federation was taking care of him this year but he was one of our charges last year; laid back, good fun and a pleasure to work for.

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Michael Mørkøv’s partner here, Kenny De Ketele was on the podium of all six of season 2017/18 six day races; four wins a second and a third for the ex-World Madison Champion – enough said.

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Alex Rasmussen retired after last year’s race – a great shame, Mørkøv/Rasmussen was a charismatic six day pairing but the Dane was never really the same after his harsh and unjust suspension for missing drugs tests – despite the fact that on one of the occasions he was racing and tested anyway. Disorganized – yes; doper – never.

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Sebastian Mora’s bike’s livery reflects his win in the European Madison Championship two years ago but he’s also been Scratch Race World Champion. The last two seasons he raced with great success on the UK criterium circuit for Raleigh. He was paired here with former race winner, Jesper Mørkøv and should have been podium contenders but for Jesper having to be treated for kidney stones at Berlin six day just days before the Copenhagen race.

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On ‘points’ Moreno De Pauw of Belgium and Yoeri Havik of The Netherlands are second and third ranked respectively behind Kenny De Ketele, who was top man on the circuit this winter season.
A formidable team but not as formidable as ‘Buffalo strong’ De Ketele and smooth as silk Morkov.

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For the ‘up and coming’ file, Belgians Jules Hester, a national and European junior champion on the track and U23 six day winner in Gent and Rotterdam, riding his first elite six days here – paired with still only 23 years-old but highly experienced Otto Vergaerde. Vergaerde is a multiple Belgian Championship medallist on road and track and has a Worlds silver to his credit in the Madison. He was three years with Topsport Vlaanderen but last year Verandas Willems made him an offer and he moved – his season wasn’t to their liking so he was unceremoniously dumped. There’s little emotion or mercy within Belgian pro cycling – and this year he ride for Christian Grasmann’s Maloja set up.

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More Poles, this time Worlds points bronze medallist, Wojciech Pszczolarski – who we worked with last year and is another cool guy – paired with tall Daniel Staniszewski who is a very classy young rider.
Watch for all these Polska names at the Worlds.

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Who would win in Copenhagen was never really in doubt from the moment the field was announced – six time winner Mørkøv and current Capo De Ketele were going to take some beating.

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Our second man, Achim Burkhart is reigning European Champion behind the Dernys and honored his status with several wins in Copenhagen behind the annoying little beasts.

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Daniel Holloway has been around a long time, multiple US track champion, winner on the road from Belgium to Mexico and for several years he was undisputed ‘Crit King’ of the USA. He’s back on the track with the Tokyo Olympics in his sights. He’s also the main man in the balustrade sprint where the riders track the fence, hands off as Dario G’s ‘Sunchyme’ blasts over the PA. It’s a cool experience.

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In these days of economic woes there isn’t the money in the six days that there used to be so the contract fees for the riders are not what they used to be. This tempts some to cut costs by doing their own mechanicing – fine until something goes wrong. . .

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There was ladies racing at Copenhagen, including a Madison; a bigger field would have been nice – and faster.

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The six days are unique – sporting endeavor but with a large helping of cabaret and partying with friends. The real pro drinkers buy six beers per couple – this saves wasting valuable scooping team walking to the bar.

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Sundays are laid back in Copenhagen, there’s even time for a race on these contraptions; which Michael and Kenny won – naturally.

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And it was Star Wars for the ‘balustrade’ on Sunday – with Holloway representing the Empire.

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The big deal on the Monday is the 300 lap, 75 kilometer handicap Madison where the big teams ‘give away’ up to seven laps to the ‘limit men.’ Laps gained/lost count for the overall standings so no team can afford to tread water. We came out of it smiling – our man Hans Pirius, teamed with Holloway ran out winners with both riding out of their skin.

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Unsmiling however were Home Boy, Marc Hester – who’s won this six day in the past – and partner, German six day stalwart Leif Lampater. Hester had a ‘bad night’ and any chance of second spot on the podium was go

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Jesper Mørkøv was another not having fun – the after effects of those kidney stones giving the man real pain.

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Michael and Kenny inevitably ran out overall winners on the Tuesday night from Havik/De Pauw with Hester/Lampater in third spot. The result was only finally decided in the very last sprint – a proper finale.

I didn’t see London and wasn’t knocked out by the Gent and Rotterdam finals – but Bremen, Berlin and Copenhagen all had convincing and entertaining conclusions.

Long may that continue.

# Stay tuned to PEZ for Ed Hood's winter 2017/18 '6 Day' round up coming soon. #





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 1,600 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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