The Copenhagen 6 Days race started yesterday at Ballerup Super Arena. It’s our only 6 Days race this season and we’ve been looking forward to it for an entire year. This one is extra special as it’s the 50th edition of the race as well as beloved organizer Henrik “Rico” Elmgreen’s last race. This also means that a few special events are planned and a few of them happened during the opening night, last night.
Par Nummer 7 has a very special meaning in the CPH 6 Days race. It was “invented” by Kay Werner in 1953 when he rode with Evan Klamer, and traditionally Par Nummer 7 is the best/most popular Danish pair on the track. These days the past 3 year’s winners Alex Rasmussen and Michael Mørkøv wear the 7 which they’ve definitely earned. Last night former and current winning Par Nummer 7′s were honoured at the velodrome with a huge applause. Only former Par Nummer 7 rider who was missing was Klamer who passed away in 1978.
Another special treat was former legendary rider Ole Ritter’s speech to Henrik Elmgreen. Elmgreen received a standing applause from the entire velodrome and he’ll definitely be missed.
As for the actual race, a 100 km chase was first on the schedule for the evening. Usually the opening chase is 40-60 km but this year Elmgreen went all out. Most riders seemed slightly nervous and by the end, quite a few of them looked like they were about to fall off their bikes. The speed was incredibly high and they ended up finishing the race in 1 hr 55 mins 19 secs, making the average speed 52.031 km/h in average, setting a new record. It was a very close race and it was won by mere cms as Iljo Keisse of pair 9 outsprinted Mørkøv of Par Nummer 7 on the finish line and the win went to the 9′s – Keisse and his partner Marc Hester.
As per tradition, the madison in Copenhagen starts with Cara Mia blasting out the speakers and there’s just something about track music that makes the racing even more special. Most of the music is quite ridiculous but it just works for the racing somehow. A few of the riders seemed to enjoy the music as there was some dancing going on in the riders’ area between races. Franco Marvulli in particular was in a very good mood and was dancing and singing along and just generally seemed to be having a great time.
Unfortunately not a lot of spectators were there for opening night but the atmosphere in the velodrome was still vibrant. Marc Hester’s fanclub was there with their flags and banners and made sure Hester knew they were cheering for them. They were quite entertaining and wouldn’t let us leave without a Marc Hester flag after we’d talked to them. It’s always fun to meet such enthusiastic fans who really go all out in their support for a rider.
The whole evening was quite amazing. The race got off to a great start and pair 9 are only in the lead with 1 point to pair 7 which should make for a very exciting race tonight and the rest of the week.
Results from day 1:
- 100 km opening chase was won by pair 9 Marc Hester/Iljo Keisse
- The first Derny paced race was won by Sebastian Lander of pair 13
- The second Derny paced race was won by Leif Lampater of pair 2
- Michael Mørkøv of pair 7 did the fastest lap on time when he raced the 250 m in 13.148 secs
- The last sprint of the day, the Heino Cykler Gigant Spurt was won by Franco Marvulli of pair 14
Overall results after day 1:
1. Iljo Keisse (Bel)/Marc Hester (Den) 37 points
2. Alex Rasmussen (Den)/Michael Mørkøv (Den) 36 points
3. Danny Stam (Ned)/Wim Stroetinga (Ned) 25 points
4. Robert Bartko (Ger)/Leif Lampater (Ger) 22 points
5. Marcel Barth (Ger)/Martin Blaha (Cze) 30 points
6. Franco Marvulli (Swi)/Jesper Mørkøv (Den) 26 points
7. Kenny de Ketele (Bel)/Tim Mertens (Bel) 6 points
8. Andreas Müller (Aut)/ Sebastian Lander (Den) 11 points
9. Robert Bengsch (Ger)/Marcel Kalz (Ger) 10 points
10. Alexander Aeschbach (Swi)/Christian Ranneries (Den)
11. Leon van Bon (Ned)/ Michael Smith Larsen (Den) 9 points
12. Christian Grasmann (Ger)/Lasse Norman (Den) 15 points
13. Shane Archbold (Nzl)/ Claudio Imhof (Swi) 8 points
14. Björn Schröder (Ger)/Jack Simes IV (USA) 4 points