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Video: High octane track racing at Six Day London

Joseph Delves
29 Oct 2019

Cyclist goes trackside to bring you action from the recent London Six Day. Videography: Joseph Delves

Last week saw riders including Katie Archibald, Mark Cavendish, Owain Doull, Laura Kenny, Elia Viviani and Max Levy assemble at the Lee Valley VeloPark for the London edition of the Six Day Series.

Once track racing was rivalled only by boxing when it came to drawing in the crowds. The Madison race, where teams of two compete against each other by alternately slinging one another into the melee, is even named after the famous gardens in New York City.

With multiple days of derny racing, Madison, keirin, match sprinting and other innovations, the Six Day format is designed to be as spectacular as possible. Seeing the men pairing up for the duration to compete across a range of events, on the final night two are crowned overall champions

Originating in Britain, the first event was held at the Agricultural Hall in Islington in 1878. Having since spread around the world, to win one of the larger events remains a prestigious achievement. And while there’s a strong element of showmanship to the whole endeavour, the racing is still hard-fought.

For the women competing, the stakes are different. Also divided into teams of two and allocated a cabin in the track centre, they race across a four-day omnium. However, while the men race for glory only, the UCI points on offer for the women mean there’s no quarter given in any of their events.

With riders, mechanics, and soigneurs accommodated in the track centre, the events provide an excellent opportunity for fans to get close to the racing, meet their heroes and have a few beers.

Cyclist got trackside to speak to the riders about a format that’s still one of the sport’s great spectacles.