London is set to host a six day event for the first time in 35 years this October thanks to the help of British sporting stars Mark Cavendish and Chris Hoy. The sporting duo have helped the Madison Sports Group with the development of the Six Day London, which is set to take place at the Olympic track in the Lee Valley VeloPark.
“I’m super excited because there’s this plan to have six-day cycling here,” said Cavendish during a press conference in London. “It’s not just an event to try and make it happen, there’s vision… It was really something that captivated me straight away.”
Hoy added: “It’s fantastic. It’s always been seen as a continental or European event and it’s great that it’s finally coming back to the UK. British fans are among the best in the world.”
Both Cavendish and Hoy have competed in six day events with the Manxman winning the Zurich event with Etixx-QuickStep teammate Iljo Keisse, and coming second in Ghent. Last year’s Zurich Six Day would be its final edition, while many others have fallen into decline, and Cavendish hopes that the London race will see a resurgence in the format.
“Six day cycling is a lot of individual organisers who are trying to keep it going, which is kind of the model of cycling as a whole, there’s no vision for the future of it,” explained Cavendish. “It’s sad. It’s this sport that was the biggest spectator sport in America in the last century and it’s been incredible to watch.
“With Face Partnership there’s been the revolution for many years where people come to see the stars racing and to see that for six nights with the biggest stars of the world its the equivalent of going to the Tour de France.”
The Six Day London is the first of what the organisers hope to be many events around the globe. The event, which is due to take place between 18th-23rd October, is hoping to reinvigorate the six day format with around 16-20 events each night, including a three-day women’s event – which will be run as an extended omnium, a sprint competition, and junior and youth events. A community event will also be held on the opening day of competition.
“Six day racing has a long and rich history rooted here in London. We’re now bringing the sport home and in doing so we’re standing on the shoulders of giants because, throughout its lifetime, six day racing has had the best cyclists involved,” said Madison Sport Group CEO Mark Durbon.
Cavendish has not yet been confirmed as a participant in the event, but it is hoped and expected that he will ride. Among the names already confirmed are former Gent Six Day winner Michael Mørkøv, Madison world champion Morgan Kneisky, Alex Rasmussen, Yoeri Havik and Mark Heston. Stephanie Pohl and Denis Dmitriev will compete in the match sprinting competition. More riders will be announced in the coming weeks.
The London velodrome is 250 metres, which is longer than those at the majority of six day events but Hoy doesn’t believe it will be a problem. “Most people associate six day racing with the smaller tracks but the Berlin six, which is one of the most successful and enjoyable events, so you can have a greater event on the longer track,” he said.
The race expected to be broadcast and the organisers are currently finalising details with television companies, they also hope to give full coverage of the race online. Other additions to the coverage will be live telemetry from the riders, which will allow fans to see statistics such as heart rate and speed, and on-board cameras. On-board cameras have become a much more common feature in cycling, with its inclusion at the World Championships earlier this season and out on the road.
Keeping in tradition with six day events, fans will also be able to watch from the track centre. Tickets and hospitality packages for the Six DayLondon go on sale to the general public at 11am Saturday 4th July, while British Cycling members can take advantage of a 72-hour pre-sale window to secure their tickets.