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Track Cycling - Six Hours of Euskadi: Martinello's last win!
 
By Fabio
Date: 2/9/2003
Track Cycling - Six Hours of Euskadi: Martinello's last win!
 

After the end of the racing season in Germany, track cycling resumed in quite an unusual country for this discipline: Spain. And with quite an unusual contest: not a 6-days:, but a ... 6-hours: the "Six Hours of Euzkadi", whose 25th edition took place on Saturday afternoon and evening in the Anoeta Velodrome of San Sebastian, featuring the participation of several big stars of the track (from last year's winners Gilmore and McGrory to Villa and Martinello, from Dutch sensations Slippens and Stam to World Madison Champs Perque and Neuville of France) and more than one roadie as well.

Winners of the 2003 "Seis Horas de Euskadi", or "Euskadiko Sei Orduak" in Basque language, were Italy's Marco Villa and Silvio Martinello, with the latter actually (after his "official" last race two weeks ago in Berlin) putting an end to his legendary career on the track with a victory, the second for him on this track. The Italian veterans edged out Swiss rivals Bruno Risi and Kurt Betschart, with Juan Curuchet and W. Pérez of Argentina taking third.

And after the race the winners were warmly cheered on by the enthusiastic crowd (some spectators couldn't even believe that Martinello is actually 40), whose favourites Mikel Gaztañaga and Mikel Astarloza won the Keirin and points competiton respectively, while another Italian taking part in his last competiton on the track, 40-year-old Adriano Baffi, paired to Germany's Gerd Dorich, clinched victory in the Elimination and Sprint races.

Silvio Martinello replied by waving the Basque flag as a sign of gratitude towards tthe spectators. And in post-race interviews he stated that "It all has been so nice. I'm truly happy. I couldn't ask for a better last race. I was very motivated, as it was my last chance to show this magnificent public all my gratefulness. This a unique race that always meant a lot to me. The level of the competition was high this time, and both Risi and Betschart and Curuchet and Pérez made things hard for us right from the start. That makes us appreciate our win even more".

Partner Marco Villa echoed his words "It was magníficent to get back to victory in Anoeta seven years later, and after getting close to the top of the podium more than once. Martinello and I worked well together in the 6-Days, but also trained hard in Italy in the past days in order to win here. A victory in San Sebastian always has a particular taste. And it's a wonderful thing that Martinello may have his ultimate race here".

Tour Down Under overall winner turned track rider Mikel Astarloza was satisfied with his performance. The Basque and his french partner (and AG2R teammate) Andy Flickinger ranked sixth, although "our target was to get a podium placing, and we always tried to, but the race was fast and too hotly-disputed even in the last Madison. I am satisfied with my result anyway. Flickinger and I are road racers, after all". The Basque also praised the crowd "They were fantastic. You can't ask for more from them. Spectators never stopped vheering all riders. That's why I'm so happy now".

As for other main contenders, Scott McGrory and Matt Gilmore, as well as some other 6-day stars, were a bit disappointing instead. As to Slippens-Stam and Denmark's Madsen-Sanstod, both pairs finished one lap down to the winners.

But many other interesting things happened on the Basque track, one of them being the tributes paid to several champions, from the competition's first winners and podium place finishers (Sweden's Svendsen-Bausager as well as Spain's Txomin Perurena, Jose Antonio González Linares, Avelino Perea and Carlos Peregrina) to Abraham Olano, one of the best riders ever from the San Sebastian area, who learned to become a great time-triallist in this velodrome too, and hung up his bike at the end of the past season. But as the man himself admitted, "when you see such an environment as in Anoeta, you'd get back to racing".

Another great moment of the Anoeta "happening" came with the most suggestive challenge on the night: the "match-omnium" between Aitor González and Oscar Sevilla. The two former teammates were protagonists of a different "match" some time ago: the quarrel they had at the past Vuelta, when "TerminAitor" didn't abide by orders from team Director Vicente Belda (e.g. waiiting for appointed leader Sevilla and helping him) and made his race on the Angliru, thus starting his climb to the overall victory he got in Madrid. Sevilla was far from happy of González behaviour.

But he couldn't be happy on Saturday night either, as he missed the chance he was given to "avenge" the Angliru defeat: the new Fassa-Bortolo signing took the win at the end of a tight battle. The first flying lap this race consisted of was won by Sevilla, who clocked a time of 19"815 (19"926 for his Basque-born rival). But it didn't take long for Aitor to show that, in spite of previous statements, he wasn't that innocent on the track, and claim victory in the second leg of the contest, a three-lap competition where he edged out "El Niño" by 1"080. So it was time for the "race of the truth", the third an decisive clash, a 8-lap match where TerminAitor once again showed off his time-trialling skills and beat Sevilla by no more than 44 hundredths of a second, even though the latter had a faster start than him. Certainly an unusual way for him to take his first win with the Fassa-Bortolo outfit.

In post-race interviews, the winner said that "it was great to win in front of such a wonderful crowd, I owe it to them. Things went much better than expected. I was new to track cycling, so my first goal was to stay on the bike and not fall". As to Kelme's Sevilla, the man told journalists that "Aitor was the best, I do accept it. We had a very good time here, and the environement was good as well. Regardless of what people say, we are rivals just on the bike, but when off the bike we are friends".

Six Hours of Euskadi: Results - Top 3 places

1. Silvio Martinello - Marco Villa (Italy) - 73 points

2. Bruno Risi - Kurt Betschart (Switzerland) - 61 points

3. Juan Curuchet - W.Pérez (Argentina) - 42 points (at 1 lap)

Detailed news and results of all main track cycling events held so far this season available in the links below.


---- Track Cycling on the "Daily Peloton" - Links ----

SIX DAYS OF BERLIN (Germany - Jan. 23-28, 2003):
* Race Preview & Night 1 Results
* Night 2 - Results & GC
* Night 3 - Results & GC
* Night 4 - Results & GC
* Night 5 - Results & GC
* Night 6 Results & Final Overall Standings

SIX DAYS OF STUTTGART (Germany - Jan. 17-22, 2003):
* Race Preview
* Night 1 - Results & GC
* Night 2 - Results & GC
* Night 3 - Results & GC
* Night 4 - Results & GC
* Night 5 - Results & GC
* Night 6 Results & Final Overall Standings

SIX DAYS OF BREMEN (Germany - Jan. 09-14, 2003):
* Race Preview
* Night 1 - Results & GC
* Night 2 - Results & GC
* Night 3 - Results & GC
* Night 4 - Results & GC
* Night 5 - Results & GC
* Night 6 Results & Final Overall Standings

66th GROSSER WEIHNACHTSPREIS (Germany - Dec. 26, 2002):
* Race Results & Report

SIX DAYS OF NOUMEA (New Caledonia - Nov. 29 - Dec. 04, 2002):
* Race Preview & Day 1 Results
* Night 2 Results
* Night 3 Results
* Night 4 Results
* Night 5 Results
* Night 6 Results & Final Overall Standings

SIX DAYS OF GENT (Belgium - Nov. 19-24, 2002):
* Race Preview
* Night 1 - Results & GC
* Night 2 - Results & GC
* Night 3 - Results & GC
* Night 4 - Results & GC
* Night 5 - Results & GC
* Night 6 Results & Final Overall Standings

OPEN DES NATIONS / KEIRIN OPEN (France - Nov. 15-17, 2002):
* Race Preview
* Night 1 - Results & GC
* Night 2 - Results & GC
* Night 3 - Final Results

SIX DAYS OF MUNICH (Germany - Nov. 07-12, 2002):
* Race Preview
* Night 1 - Results & GC
* Night 2 - Results & GC
* Night 3 - Results & GC
* Night 4 - Results & GC
* Night 5 - Results & GC
* Night 6 - Final Results

SIX DAYS OF DORTMUND (Germany - October 31 - Nov. 05, 2002):
* Night 1 - Results & GC
* Night 2 - Results & GC
* Night 3 - Results & GC
* Day 4 - Results & GC
* Night 5 - Results & GC
* Night 6 - Final Results

SIX DAYS OF GRENOBLE (France - October 31 - Nov. 05, 2002):
* Night 1 - Results & GC
* Night 2 - Results & GC
* Night 3 - Results & GC
* Day 4 - Results & GC
* Night 5 - Results & GC
* Night 6 - Final Results

SIX DAYS OF AMSTERDAM (Holland - Oct. 21-26, 2002):
* Six days history relived (Final Standings)

MEMORIAL NOEL FORE' (Belgium - Nov. 11, 2002):
* Elite Race - Full Results

Track Cycling - 2002/2003 Season Calendar (Updated)

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