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Track Cycling - Six Days of Nouméa : Preview
By Fabio
Date: 11/28/2003
Track Cycling - Six Days of Nouméa : Preview

Six Days of Nouméa-Province Sud-Opt: Preview

With the main events of the 2003 season in the Old Continent over, some stars of track (and not just track) cycling are moving to more exotic places in order to keep their legs going. Places like New Caledonia, the French Overseas Territory (Térritoire d'Outre-Mer - T.O.M.) in the south Pacific Ocean that will be hosting the 17th edition of their 6 Days of Nouméa”, scheduled to kick off on Friday, November 28, with an exhibition from the local cycling academy of Bourail. The first days of competition will take place at the Nessadiou track, just to move to the more famous Nouméa velodrome on Monday.

Despite a consistent budget-cutting, but once more enjoying strong support from the OPT (the local Postal Service), race boss Gérard Salaün and the A.S. Police Society are still able to organize one of the most unusual track races and draw a top-quality field, mainly consisting of local and French riders - and among them the likes of Laurent Gané (the multiple World Champion is New Caledonia’s favorite rider), his cousin Herve Gané, Florien Rousseau, Arnaud Tournant, Robert Sassone, Jean-Michel Tessier and Franck Perque - but also including several foreigners.

Such that, in the Sprint Race, the aforementioned French-speaking contingent, both from New Caledonia and continental France, will have to face stiff competition from several English-speakers, going from England’s Craig McLean to Kiwi Justin Grace to Australian Jason Niblett.

As for the main event of the “Nouméa Six”, red hot favourites to take the title are Jean-Michel Tessier and Robert Sassone. Winners in 1998 and 2001 as team-mates, they could add a further success in this race to their tally. Although it would actually be a fourth time for them, who once won this race with a different partner too. Nouméa-born Tessier is also the reigning champion as he took last year’s edition when, with Sassone (another Nouméa-born track cycling star) not attending, the 24–year-old from New Caledonia was paired to Italian veteran Adriano Baffi. Detailed results of the 2002 edition can be found further down on this page.

And if their past results weren’t enough to make them the #1 favourites, one could always look at the great condition displayed by Sassone in recent weeks, after he took second in the Grenoble Six (when paired to South Africa’s Van Zijl), just one point short of victory, and had great performances in both Munich and Ghent, where he raced alongside two other English-speakers (Brad Wiggins and Scott McGrory respectively), and stood at the top of the GC for one day in both competitions.

But there are more notable riders set to take part in the main event of the Nouméa Six, from another World Champion, Franck Perque, and his partner Fabien Merciris, to Benoît Genauzeau and Julien Tejada, to the all-German pairing of Eric Weispfennig and Stefan Steinweg (third place getters in 2002, and going for the gold this time). Other competitors are Switzerland’s David Gisiger (son of Daniel, an excellent sprinter of the 80s and winner of a Giro d’Italia stage in Pavia in 1981, but notably winner of the Nouméa Six 21 years ago) and Thierry Fondère, as well as fellow countrymen Tobias Baumgartner and Neo-Caledonian Nicolas Nagle, plus local hopefuls Jerry Bousquet and Wilfried Loquet of the A.S. Police team, and Japan’s Shinichi Fukushima and Takehiro Mizutani.

Besides the Sprint competition, there’s a strong English-speaking presence in the main event too, with Australia’s Kevin Aubrey combined to France’s Nicolas Marlier (that’s going to find another partner from Oz, after last year’s Steven Sitspartric) plus an all-Aussie pairing consisting of Michael Lewis and Peter Fitzpatrick.

New Zealand replies with Richard Bowker and Peter Latham, plus Troy Klink teaming up with French Xavier Latoupie. And another New Zealander, Adam Curry, will start the Nouméa Six without any partner, due to the last-minute pullout of New Caledonia’s Bryan Roy. But should any other participant pull out of competition as the race progresses, Curry would replace him and finally find a team-mate in a newly formed combination.

Even if - to hardcore fans of track cycling - the biggest guns in the race go under the names of Sassone, Gané, Rousseau and such, to many others the main star of the “Six Jours de Nouméa” is another well-known guy who, despite not being a track specialist, made his name known worldwide in recent years: Yaroslav Popovych. The talented Ukrainian, U23 World Champion - and dominator of the amateur cycling scene - in 2001, as well as podium finisher in the past Tour of Italy among the pros, is back to new Caledonia two years after his first participation.

2001: Popovych in Nouméa. Courtesy Gazzetta d. Sport

In the same 2001, when paired to team-mate and compatriot Volodymyr Bileka, “Popo” snatched tenth in the Nouméa Six. And now the Landbouwkrediet-Colnago team leader and Bileka are ready to battle it out again, looking for a better result than the last time they were in the French Oversea Territory

Besides the “Six Jours de Nouvelle Caledonie” and the Sprinters Race, another competition is going to take place in Nouméa: the Mini Six Jours reserved for the very young guns, and with nine teams attending. Reigning champion and red hot favourite Tuanua Zahn, coming form an excellent road season, will be competing alongside his younger brother Tevitu, who displayed his talent at the recent New Caledonian Track Championships, and find Kevin Maïtéré and François Tejada as main rivals. Runner-up both in 2001 (when he teamed up with Tuanua Zahn himself) and 2002 (when paired to Maïtéré), Tejada will be trying to break the second-place spell.

Six Days Of Nouméa-Province Sud-Opt
Night One Schedule - Friday Nov. 28 (Local Times)

19h30: Bourail Cycling School Show
19h40: Sprint Race - 200m TT Flying Start
19h50: Six Days of Nouméa: 60-lap Madison
20h15: Sprint Race - Semifinals
20h20: Mini 6 jours: 50-lap Madison
20h41: Sprint Race - Finals
21h00: Six Days of Nouméa: Sprints
21h10: Six Days of Nouméa: Points Race
21h23: Sprint Race – Team Competition
21h30: Mini 6 jours: Elimination Race
21h37: Bourail Cycling School Show
21h50: Keirin Race
21h55: Six Days of Nouméa: 100-lap Madison
22h30: Session End

Six Days Of Nouméa-Province Sud-Opt: 2002 Results

1. TESSIER Jean-Michel (N.Cal.) - BAFFI Adriano (ITA) - 228 points
2. PERQUE Franck - NEUVILLE Jérôme (FRA) - 193 points

at 1 lap
3. STEINWEG Stefan - WEISPFENNIG Eric (GER) - 231 points

at 7 laps
4. NAGLE Nicolas (N.CAL) - GENAUZEAU Benoît (FRA) - 75 points

at 10 laps
5. FONDERE Thierry (N.CAL) - MERCIRIS Fabien (FRA) - 38 points

at 12 laps
6. HONORE Yohan (N.CAL) - FUKUSHIMA Shinichi (JAP) - 49 points

at 13 laps
7. AGEZ Cédric - FAYARD Frédéric (N.CAL) - 118 points
8. BOUFENECHE Alan (N.CAL) - CHARLOT Damien (FRA) - 6 points

at 14 laps
9. LANGE Karsten (GER) - GARBELLI Devid (ITA) - 10 points

at 21 laps
10. MARLIER Nicolas (N.CAL) - SITSPARTRIC Steven (AUS) - 4 points

at 31 laps
11. ROY Bryan (N.CAL) - CURRY Adam (NZL) - 6 points

at 38 laps
12. AUBREY Kevin - DAWSON Timothy (AUS) - 0 points

at 53 laps
13. HOOGENBERG Ryan (NZL) - POWELL Benoît - 1 point

Mini Six Days: 2002 Results

1. ZAHN Tuanua - POELLABAUER Remy - 122 points

at 4 laps
2. MAITERE Kévin - TEJADA François - 81 points
3. LATOUPIE Xavier - GUILLEMARD Cyril - 75 points
4. REB Sébastien - REB Guillaume - 41 points
5. LAMOTHE Julien - GUEPY Garry - 12 points

at 5 laps
6. LOQUET Wilfried - BARONI Cindy - 27 points

at 8 laps
7. ROYER Jean-Noël (N.CAL) - WILLIAMS Liz (NZl) - 23 points

at 9 laps
8. HERNU Gabriel (N.CAL) - MONCASSIN Cathy (FRA) - 5 points

Six Days Of Nouméa: Winners List

1977: Daniël Morelon - Pierre Bonno (France)
1980: Bernard Vallet (France) - Maurizio Bidinost (Italy)
1981: Francesco Moser - Maurizio Bidinost (Italy)
1982: Daniël Gisiger (Switzerland) - Didi Foubert (Belgium)
1989: Mark Victor - Jamie Kelly (Australia)
1990: Andreas Beikirch - Frank Kuhn (Germany)
1992: Michel Dubreuil (France) - Scott Mc Grory (Australia)
1993: Tony Davis - Stephen Pate (Australia)
1994: Jean-Claude Colotti - Jean-Michel Monin (France)
1995: Serge Barbara (France) - Glen Thomson (New Zealand)
1996: Michel Dubreuil - Carios Da Cruz (France)
1997: Christian Pierron - Jean-Michel Monin (France)
1998: Robert Sassone (France) - Jean-Michel Tessier (N. Cal.)
1999: ???
2000: Danny Clark - Graeme Brown (Australia)
2001: Robert Sassone (France) - Jean-Michel Tessier (N. Cal.)
2002: Adriano Baffi (Italy) - Jean-Michel Tessier (N. Cal.)

Track Cycling on the “Daily Peloton” - 2003/2004 Season:

* 2003-2004 Season Calendar

Six Days of The Flanders / Ghent (Belgium - Nov. 18-23, 2003)
* Race Preview
* Day 1 - Results and Report
* Day 2 - Results and Report
* Day 3 - Results and Report
* Day 4 - Results and Report
* Day 5 - Results and Report
* Day 6 - Final Results

Memorial Noel Foré (Belgium - Nov. 11, 2003)
* Results and Report

Six Days of Munich (Germany - Nov. 06-11, 2003)
* Race Preview
* Day 1 - Results and Report
* Day 2 - Results and Report
* Day 3 - Results and Report
* Day 4 - Results and Report
* Day 5 - Results and Report
* Day 6 - Final Results

Six Days of Dortmund (Germany - Oct. 30-Nov. 04, 2003)
* Race Preview
* Day 1 - Results and Report
* Day 2 - Results and Report
* Day 3 - Results and Report
* Day 4 - Results and Report
* Day 5 - Results and Report
* Day 6 - Final Results

Six Days of Grenoble (France - Oct. 30-Nov. 04, 2003)
* Race Preview
* Day 1 Results
* Day 2 - Results and Report
* Day 3 - Results and Report
* Day 4 - Results and Report
* Day 5 - Results and Report
* Day 6 - Final Results

Six Days of Amsterdam (Holland - Oct. 20-25, 2003)
* Day 1 - Results and Report
* Day 2 - Results and Report
* Day 3 - Results and Report
* Day 4 - Results and Report
* Day 5 - Results and Report
* Day 6 - Final Results

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