Italians maintain lead in Berlin after fourth night
Firstly, a very happy new year to all readers. May it be a peaceful one for you.
The Berlin six-day race is the first of the year. This year, because of the severely reduced number of "sixes" being held, it is one of only 3 six-day races in the post-Christmas period. Several regular riders have already quit the track for the season, preferring to race only up to Christmas on the 6-day circuit and then to take some time out to train for the forthcoming road season.
This has not prevented the Berlin Six from beign an exciting race. By the end of the third night, three different teams had led the race - Risi/Betschart, Baffi/Collinelli and Martinello/Villa. The race is also providing the 12,000 spectators who turn up each night with exciting racing, and plenty of spills and thrills. Several riders appear to be suffering with winter colds, and on Friday night Swiss six-day man Kurt Betschart crashed in the final stages of a race and fell heavily. The race doctor "strongly advised him" not to race any more that evening, but Betschart was back in action on Saturday night.
Sunday afternoon's session (day four) saw Martinello and Villa maintain their lead. They are the only team to top the 300 points mark, thus gaining a 1-lap lead over three other teams. Remember, for every 100 points, you get a bonus lap thrown in - except during the very final Madison of the six days. Meantime, there have been mroe partner changes than you'd expect at your average suburbian wife-swapping party: Scott McGrory has a case of the dodgy tum, so the race doctor sent him home for the day and paired his partner Robert Bartko (Germany's world pursuit champion) with Germany's Andreas Beikirch for the day (Beikirch's partner, Lars Teutenberg, is also under the doctor and unable to race). McGrory may return to the racing Monday night.
Off the track, top German six-day star Andreas Kappes is denying any involvement in the Italian doping scandal that is currently gripping the cycling world. "I'm not expecting the Italian investigating judges to call for me - I can sleep peacefully" said 34 year old Kappes. The SID press agency reports that Andreas Kappes' name was found on papers seized from the files of his former doctor, the Italian Michele Ferrari. The Italian was team doctor when Kappes rode for the Italian Mecair-Ballan squad from 1993 onwards, but Kappes has had no contact with Dr Ferrari since 1997. It was in 1997 that Kappes received a 3-month suspension for doping.
A lot of readers ask me what it is like to attend a six-day race, and how to go about it. Have a read of a report I wrote a couple of years back after attending my first "Berlin Six".
1. Silvio Martinello / Marco Villa (ITA) 310 points one lap down: 2. Adriano Baffi / Andrea Collinelli (ITA) 255 points 3. Andreas Kappes / Olaf Pollack (GER 245 points 4. Robert Bartko / Andreas Beikirch (GER) 195(?) points
Incidentally, the Berlin six-day race now has its own web site at http: / / www.sechstagerennen-berlin.de / index.html Their site is available in any language you want, as long as it is German <g>.
To find out how to book tickets for the Berlin 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 Berlin Six? Drop an e-mail to if you do, or send him a fax at 0044 161 476 2914 - Fat Nick reads German, so grotty photocopies of results sheets and local newspapers are gratefully received!
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