‘Serious racing, serious prize money and serious fun’: Madison Sports Group launches first Six Day Series
Six Day racing changes forever this winter as Madison Sports Group introduces the first ever Six Day Series.
Six Day London will be the first of four showpiece events in Amsterdam, Berlin and Copenhagen, concluding with a winner-takes-all grand finale in Mallorca, next March.
International teams competing in the series will accrue points at each event, with the top 12 men’s teams and top 12 individual women qualifying for the Mallorca showdown.
The racing will be covered live on Eurosport, with highlights of Six Day London, as well as the other series events, also broadcast on Sky Sports in the UK.
World Madison champion Mark Cavendish, who will ride Six Day London later this month with Sir Bradley Wiggins, has been part of the consultation process in the development of the Series, and he welcomes the move.
“Six Day racing has always been one of the most exciting events on the calendar,” said the Olympic omnium silver medallist.
“But until now it has always been individual events, different rules and a variety of owners and operators.
“A structured Six Day series will revitalise the Six Day scene – and also transform track cycling in general.
“The crowd will love it as the season develops, but it is also a big step forward for the riders – serious racing, serious prize money – and serious fun.”
As is traditional at Six Day races, each event will feature a live DJ and entertainment which, combined with the all-action racing, will produce a fantastic atmosphere for riders and supporters alike.
Last year’s winning pairing, Moreno de Pauw and Kenny de Ketele, will be back in London to defend their crown this season, and the duo – racing as Team Belgium – are all in for the Series.
“Having a whole Six Day Series is really good for the sport of track cycling in general I think,” said the 25-year-old.
“For the riders, it makes it really exciting having so many all building towards the finale.
“It also helps to put more attention on track cycling and for us riding for Belgium that will only be a good thing.
“In our country, you have the Tour of Flanders and the classics but it’s important to help grow track cycling as well. Hopefully our performances this year can help that.”
Yoeri Havik and Wim Stroetinga will make up Team Netherlands, with Benjamin Thomas and Morgan Kniesky competing for France.
And Havik, who rode in London last year alongside Niki Terpstra, was another to welcome the Series format.
“Berlin is also a big Six Day and the level of competitors is always high, and that’s the good thing about the series, the level will be high in every race,” he said.
“The idea of the series is great, to have consistent teams, from countries, then the crowds can recognise us and you get a bit more of a build up to each event.
“When Wim and I go to London and we hopefully do well there, then we go to the next race and people know us as a pairing.
“It’s a really good thing. And having more Six Days in the series is good for us because we have more work to do in the winter – it’s guaranteed races.”
In addition to the Six Day racing, the leading women’s omnium riders from the Series will also qualify for the Mallorca finale, and there will also be a sprinters’ competition at each event.
Olympic team pursuit champion Elinor Barker is already set to ride at least the London and Amsterdam omniums, and she can’t wait to get back to Six Day racing after first being introduced to it as a junior.
“I didn’t really know a huge amount about Six Days until I went to my first one,” said the 22-year-old. So it was my first go at being a rider and first go at being a spectator as well.
“I stayed to watch for a couple of days and it was awesome. It was like nothing I had seen before.
“A lot more alcohol-fuelled crowd, just a bit more of a party.”
Dimension Data will be providing live telemetry and the results services for the events, with Ticketmaster signing on as the Series ticketing partner.
And Madison Sports Group CEO Mark Darbon is excited by what the future holds for the Six Day series.
“Since we brought Six Day back to London for the first time in 35 years in 2015, we’ve been working on the concept of a bigger series and we can’t wait to get started,” he said.
“In London, Amsterdam, Berlin and Copenhagen we have four iconic cities with great Six Day heritage and in Mallorca, an exciting new venue.
“And that’s what our vision for Six Day is all about – we want to celebrate its rich history, update it and bring it to new territories.
“Having a series of events with consistent races, riders and entertainment will give us an ongoing story throughout the series which fans can follow across the world.
“We’ve spoken to a lot of riders about it – and they are hugely excited about the prospect.”
Six Day London takes place between 25-30 October 2016 at Lee Valley VeloPark on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Half term fun, with or without the kids. Tickets on sale now at www.sixday.com