We start with sad news. There was a big crash during the third night of the Milan six-day cycle race, with five riders involved and several hurt. The most seriously injured is Swiss rider Kurt Betschart - first reports suggest he has a broken collar bone and a broken shoulder. Ady Zurfluh, editor of the Urner Wochenblatt (the local paper for the area Risi and Betschart come from) was first to break the news to me:
"I heard on the News that there was a mass carambolage in the Milan six, last night. There were at least four riders injured, among them Kurt Betschart and Jimmi Madsen. Kurt seems to have broken something in his shoulder («Schlüsselbein = collar bone»). Bruno Risi has now teamed up with Jens Veggerby as an interim couple.
I haven't gotten any more news up to now, but I sure hope to get more as the day progresses. Have you heard anything? I'd be thankful for any news. Regards, Ady"
Danish media man Kim Plesner has since spoken with the Danish riders Jens Veggerby and Jimmi Madsen, and has the following news from them:
"According to Jens Veggerby and Jimmi Madsen, Kurt Betschart has broken both his shoulder and collarbone in last night's crash, which seemed to have involved five riders.
Jimmi Madsen has injured his knee, but perhaps he will be ready to ride again tonight. Best regards, Kim"
Ady has since been in touch to tell me that Kurt is also nursing a couple of broken ribs. He doesn't need any surgery and was released from hospital the next day. Bruno's brother has driven him home to Switzerland, where Kurt will have a couple of weeks bed rest - thus missing the Swiss duo's normal end-of-season celebrations during the Swiss Karneval week. Meantime, Bruno Risi has now been paired up with Spanish rider (and 1997 world Madison champion) Miguel Alzamora for the remainder of the Milan Six (quite fitting really, as they both sport trendy long hairstyles!).
I'd like to wish Kurt a speedy recovery and "Gute Besserung". Fat Nick had a bit of a tumble on the Manchester track last summer, and amongst other things I injured my own shoulder, so I know just how painful the injury can be.
Local strong-man (and winner for the last two years) Silvio Martinello led the race from nights 2 to 4, interestingly partnered by Belgium's Etienne de Wilde rather than his normal partner, Marco Villa. Denmark's Tayeb Braikia is also riding with a different partner - he normally rides with fellow Dane Jacob Piil, but is partnering Germany's Guido Fulst in this one. On the fifth night, Italy's Adriano Baffi took the lead with his German partner Andreas Kappes. Baffi and Kappes only formed into a regular team at the end of 1997 and, with a win at Cologne already to their credit, they are keen to take a second race victory. Having watched Baffi and Kappes ride together in Berlin, Fat Nick suspects further success will not be long in coming.
On the final night, though, Martinello and De Wilde proved to be the men on form, and they came back to take overall victory. This was Silvio Martinello's sixth 6-day win this season, and Etienne de Wilde's second.
|Positions||Riders||Points (+ laps down)|
|1||Silvio Martinello - Etienne de Wilde (Ita/Bel)||485 points|
|2||Adriano Baffi - Andreas Kappes (Ita/Ger)||474 points|
|3||Marco Villa - Matthew Gilmore (Ita/Bel)||426 points|
|4||Jens Veggerby - Jimmi Madsen (Den)||223 points (+1 lap)|
|5||Andrea Collinelli - Carsten Wolf (Ita/Ger)||382 (+2 laps)|
|6||Bruno Risi - Miguel Alzamora (Swi/Spa)||219 (+6 laps)|
|7||Curuchet - Perez (Arg)||252 (+9 laps)|
|8||Guido Fulst - Tayeb Braikia (Ger/Den)||193 (+9 laps)|
|9||Sabino Cannone - Stefan Steinweg (Ita/Ger)||104 (+19 laps)|
|10||Philippe Ermenault - Jean-Michel Monin (Fra)||111 (+22 laps)|
|11||Quaranta - Gerd Dörich (Ita/Ger)||79 (+35 laps)|
|12||Frigo - Rik Van Slijcke (Ita/Bel)||61 points (+37 laps)|
My thanks to Kim Plesner and Bill Mitchell for keeping me updated with the results of the Italian "Six" in Milano.
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