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A great 102. edition of the Berlin 6 Days race finished a few hours ago and we’re so happy to have been able to watch the last four days of it.
The velodrome in Berlin is located in Friedrichshain and when we first arrived, we were slightly confused as to where exactly it was. Unlike in Ballerup, the Berlin velodrome is built on level with the subway which means it hardly rises above ground and when looking towards it from the street, it’s nearly invisible. We never had any problems finding it though as we just followed all the people in the area that were headed to watch the cycling.
The velodrome was packed every single night with people of all ages, from babies with protective headphones on to grandmothers. Track cycling seems to be extremely popular in Berlin and the around 11.000 people were all handed whistles which they used when cheering for the riders, making the noise level really high most of the time. We didn’t mind it though as the enthusiasm, whistling and cheering meant there was always an incredible atmosphere throughout the velodrome. The speaker shouted his way through every night and the crowd resonded the same way, especially when a German rider looked to be breaking away from the peloton.
On paper, the racing was much the same as in Copenhagen, the only other 6 Days race we’ve been to, but in reality it seemed fairly different.
The sprinters were almost the main event, with Germany having quite a few past and present world and Olympic medalists that the crowd absolutely love. The sprinting was quite spectatular, we’ve never seen such amazing track stands as the ones we saw Maximilian Levy and Robert Förstemann do on the Tuesday night, they seemed to be standing still forever!
German 6 Days also have Steherrennen which is a type of racing where riders go over long distances behind a sort of bigger derny pacer. We’d never heard of Stehers before we saw it but that must be because we aren’t German as there were lots of fans who enthusiastically used their newly acquired whistles during the event.
As for the reason we went in the first place, to watch some of the best track riders in the world battle it out in pairs, we got some incredible racing! No win was ever given away and the top contenders all seemed pretty evenly matched, which led to the race being won during the very last sprint of the last madison. Everyone seemed to be on the edge of their seats and when Robert Kluge and Peter Schep crossed the line first, the crowd went crazy!
1. Robert Kluge/Peter Schep, 261 points
2. Luke Roberts/Kenny de Ketele, 258 points
3. Franco Marvulli/Andreas Müller, 233 points
Only Dane racing was Jesper Mørkøv who was paired with a “6 day virgin” Sebastian Wotschke and they therefore didn’t do particularly well, as Wotschke lacked the experience and stamina to perform as well as more seasoned riders. However, Mørkøv only used the Berlin race as preparation for the upcoming 6 Days in Copenhagen where his goal is to get on the podium with partner Marvulli, so he wasn’t too upset about the result in Berlin.
Denmark was also represented in the Ladies Cup by Julie Leth, in the UIV cup by Simon Bigum/Elias Helleskov Busk and Mathis Krigbaum/Jonas Poulsen, and in the U19 Omnium by Casper Pedersen/Patrick Leth and Frederik Bohé/Rasmus Wallin.
The Berlin 6 Days is such a good show, with performances by singers as well as special appearances by the likes of Erik Zabel and John Degenkolb. They have a huge disco ball in the middle of the ceiling that will sometimes be the only thing lit when making special introductions, which looks so very cool. The organizers also are big fans of cheerleaders during breaks as well as a bunch of different mascots that get the crowd going. There’s a giant food court in the inner circle and a bike shop under the track, so everywhere is filled with fans who get to not only watch great racing but also get to have an entire cycling experience. Even though a lot of the show related things were repeated every night, we never got bored and we loved it just as much as everyone else.
We’ll definitely be back to the Berlin 6 Days race at some point, it’s a great race and a show we want to see many more times!
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