Posted by Editor on 11/30/00
35th Zürich Amateur Six-Day (Six Jours de l'Avenir) - Hallenstadion, Zürich, Switzerland
(courtesy Kris Westwood)
27 November- 2 December 2000
The six-day race in Zürich is one of several European six-days to run an amateur event in parallel with the professional race. For the first time ever, two Canadian riders are taking part in this event: Glen Rendall of Ottawa, Ontario, and Alexandre Cloutier of Ste-Foy, Quebec.
I first had the idea of entering Canadian riders in this event last year, when I was working at the Zürich six-day in 1998 as a mechanic for some professional riders. I later discussed this with my employers at the Canadian Cycling Association, but they did not demonstrate any interest in supporting such an initiative, so I decided to go ahead on my own. The network of contacts I have built up over the years racing and working in Europe enabled me to make the necessary arrangements. The CCA is at pains to disassociate itself completely from this venture: though I work at the CCA, I am present here on my holiday time, Glen and Alex are not participating as members of the Canadian team, and all of our expenses here are coming out of our own pockets.
There are several reasons why I chose to pursue this personal project. Basically, I am putting my money where my mouth is as far as Canadian track development is concerned. From the standpoint of the development of Canadian cyclists, one of our areas of greatest weakness is in the track endurance events. Note that six Olympic medal events are track endurance events, as opposed to six track sprint events, four road events and two mountain bike events.
Canada already has a sprint program that is beginning to show results, and adequate attention is being given to road and mountain bike, but there has as yet been no initiative for track endurance. Within the track endurance events, the individual and team pursuits are timed races: riders who are capable of setting fast times will perform well regardless of the venue. However, the points race and madison events are highly skill-oriented: there is no substitute for experience.
The best way for us to create a base of experienced riders for the next Olympic Games is to enter them into events that will challenge their skill level. Choosing to focus on the madison, which is the more technically demanding event, where better to learn than at what is, in effect, a madison stage race? The six-days are tailor-made to develop madison riders. There hasn't been a six-day in Canada since the last Montreal event in 1980, so we lack continuity in the development of our riders. We are thus forced to look, at least in the short term, to events overseas if we wish to progress.
The overall level in Canada being quite low, I chose to start with the amateur six-day in Zürich, which is why Glen and Alex are racing here now. The reasons I chose Glen and Alex are as follows: they have some madison experience - they won the Madison Cup in Trexlertown this year; I know them personally to be good ambassadors for Canada; I am confident they will openly pass on to younger riders what they learn here. They will bring back to Canada with them a level of skill and experience that they can then pass on to the riders they race against, who can then in turn come to Europe to develop into potential Olympic athletes.
I certainly hope that this personal investment of Alex's, Glen's and my efforts, time and money pay off in the long term. The four years to the next Olympics is a short time: the onus on us in Canada will now be to have enough madison races to expose younger riders to the discipline, in the hope that we can qualify a team for 2004.
Race report - November 26 "Das Blaue Band von Zürich"
The Zürcher Hallenstadion traditionally holds a warm-up event before the six-day, called das Blaue Band von Zürich. This 40 km points race is in fact the longest-running track event in Switzerland. 46 riders took part in the race, making the 250 m wooden oval look rather crowded. The field was a mix of top international riders and amateurs: world madison champion Stefan Steinweg put on a good show by gaining a lap on the field alone, but several others followed and the eventual winner was Christian Weber of Switzerland. Glen Rendall finished 17th, and Alex Cloutier 19th.
Race report - November 27 "Six Jours de l'Avenir" day 1
The 35th edition of the amateur Zürich six-day opened with a 30 km madison. 17 two-rider teams started the race at 7:00 PM on Monday night. Canadians Glen Rendall and Alex Cloutier were not entered as a team: the race organizer had asked if they would each pair up with younger Swiss riders. Glen is racing with 19-year-old Ralf Zimmermann, while Alex is paired with 20-year-old Stefan Schãr. To add to the North American contingent, Ryan Miller from Seattle is also taking part. Ryan recently competed in the Dortmund and Ghent amateur sixes. For the Zürich event he is paired with Sven Epple from Germany. I am also helping Ryan out at this event, at the request of the organizer. Ryan is a really good guy and a strong and skillful rider, so it is a pleasure to be associated with him.
The race was immediately on with an attack from the Swiss pair of Patrick Fãh/Patrick Kraus. After a long chase they gained a lap on the field, but suffered a lot in the process. They were unable to counter the second move to gain a lap: the French team of Benôit Genauzeau/Julien Tejada and Miller/Epple. Rendall/Zimmermann were in the thick of things but were unable to break free of the pack, while Cloutier/Schãr had difficulty positioning themelves in the field and ended up dropping two laps behind.
The skill level in the pack is quite inconsistent. As a result, the race is pretty hair-raising to watch and, according to unanimous comment, to ride. It is also fast: the average for the first night was 50.8 km/h.
Stage winner and overall leader after stage 1: Fãh/Kraus SUI (0 laps/17 points)
Others: 2nd Miller/Epple USA/GER (0 laps/12 points); 3rd Rendall/Zimmermann CAN/SUI (1 lap/5 points); 15th Cloutier/Schãr CAN/SUI (3 laps/0 points)
Race report - November 28 "Six Jours de l'Avenir" day 2
The second night of racing again started at 7:00 PM. Ralf Zimmermann had suffered from a too-light gear the previous night, so he changed from a 52x16 to a 53x16. The 40 km madison opened with an attack from Cloutier/Schãr. After a long chase they managed to gain a lap on the field. However, the pace picked up suddenly when the French team of Genauzeau/Tejada launched a bid for the lead. The frenzied chase saw several crashes, including one that almost took Alex Cloutier down. In the ensuing chaos the Frenchmen gained a lap and Cloutier/Schãr lost one, erasing their earlier gains. Towards the end of the race Rendall/Zimmermann also attempted to lap the field, but points sprints begin with 40 laps to go. The resulting acceleration put paid to their efforts. Disaster almost struck the Miller/Epple team, as Sven Epple blew up in the final laps, and they just narrowly avoided being lapped before the final sprint.
The average for the second night was 50.95 km/h.
Stage winner: Genauzeau/Tejada FRA (0 laps/3 points)
Others: 5th Rendall/Zimmermann CAN/SUI (1 lap/7 points); 10th Miller/Epple USA/GER (1 lap/2 points); 13th Cloutier/Schãr CAN/SUI (1 lap/0 points)
Overall leader after stage 2: Genauzeau/Tejada FRA (0 laps/10 points)
Others: 3rd Miller/Epple USA/GER (1 lap/14 points); 6th Rendall/Zimmermann CAN/SUI (2 laps/12 points); 14th Cloutier/Schãr CAN/SUI (4 laps/0 points)
Race report - November 29 "Six Jours de l'Avenir" day 3
Another 40 km madison started at 7:00 PM on the Wednesday. The field raced together for the opening laps, then the Swiss pair of Gregor Gut/Beat Obrist attacked, attempting to reduce their two-lap deficit on the leaders. Though it cost them a lot of effort, they finally made good their lap and moved them from 11th to 4th overall. The chase had been chaotic as usual, and marred by a nasty crash that took down Patrick Fãh and Patrizio Frigeri (SUI). They both received mechanical attention and returned to the fray.
Glen's partner Ralf Zimmermann was having a bad night, suffering to maintain his position in the group. Early in the race they were caught behind splits and spent a lot of energy chasing back on. Though they went off the front twice in the second half of the race they were unable to gain more than a third of a lap. Cloutier and Schãr were also suffering, dropping another lap. Again, the majority of their difficulty stemmed from positioning in the pack.
The top three overall remained the same despite some last-minute breakaway attempts. Rendall/Zimmermann are in a group of several teams within a few points of each other. The six-day this year is extremely competitive and should have an exciting finish.
Overall leader after stage 3: Genauzeau/Tejada FRA (0 laps/18 points)
Others: 3rd Miller/Epple USA/GER (1 lap/18 points); 9th Rendall/Zimmermann CAN/SUI (2 laps/13 points); 14th Cloutier/Schãr CAN/SUI (5 laps/0 points)
Power-Tap for Sale
From a press release issued yesterday:
ETune, manufacturer of the Power-Tap power-measuring cycling computer, announced the initiation of a search for a buyer for the Power-Tap brand and intellectual property and the suspension of sales of their Power-Tap computer and software package. Customer service operations will continue during the search. The service center can be reached through the companies website or their toll-free telephone number.
The company's ETune web site, launched at the Interbike trade show in September, completed the plan to offer an end-to-end fitness measurement and tracking tool by providing a dynamic charting web engine for users to upload their data and chart their progress.
For more information about ETune and the Power-Tap, visit www.power-tap.com. To learn more about the intended sale and to obtain an information packet, contact David D Stone at (617) 218-1619 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Chris Sheppard has re-signed with Haro-Lee Dungarees. Seamus McGrath, Sheppard's team mate last year, expects to announce his team plans for 2001 shortly.
- Sue Palmer, fresh from her amazing 11th place finish at the World Road Championships, has signed with Jane's Cosmetics out of California.
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