Thursday, before the curtain rose, there was in the Palais des Sports in Grenoble during the rehearsal of the shows, during training, then during the races, a particular sparkle in the eyes, an emotion which embraced the runners, the spectators. The track celebrated its big return to Grenoble. From 1971 to 2014, the meeting was unmissable. A classic that saw Eddy Merckx, Bernard Thévenet, Francesco Moser, Charly Mottet, Bernard Hinault, Laurent Fignon, Gilbert Duclos-Lassalle and Jean-Claude Colotti parade and shine. The evenings and nights were dizzying with festive airs. Before disappearing. Until the return, long hoped for by enthusiasts.
Godmother of the event, the “3 days international cyclists” Félicia Ballanger (triple gold medalist at the Olympic Games, ten times world champion) says: “It’s obviously a lot of beautiful memories. When I saw from the end of the world that they wanted to destroy the velodrome, I was shocked, I told myself that we had been fighting for more than 50 years to have velodromes in France, before us Daniel Morelon and others had fought for it and today, when we are starting to have one, it seems absurd to destroy one. It had to be kept alive, I signed the petition to start moving in this direction. So seeing the organization fighting to take back the velodrome again, I could only respond. It was an important moment for us when the end of the season arrived, Grenoble was an unmissable event, even before there were sprint events, we came to do American-style Six Days, it This shows how motivated we were despite the difficulty of the test. And afterwards, there were sprint events which allowed us to meet the public. It was always good times.”
Mathilde Gros, 2022 world speed champion (on the track with Sébastien Vigier, Timmy Gillion, Thomas Boudat or Rayan Helal in evenings orchestrated by Bernard Thévenet, hosted by Daniel Mangeas) adds: “I have never experienced a Three Days or of Six Days, when I started cycling in 2015, everything stopped. There was nothing left. When I heard other people talking about it, I was like, 'That sounded so, so good. Why did it stop, it's such a shame. When Guy (Chanal) came to offer it to me, I said, 'Great, great for the track and I hope it continues for a long time.'
At the origin of the return to the stage of the event, Guy Chanal shares the profound joy of having awakened the meeting to “safeguard or even save this velodrome (once doomed to demolition) and perpetuate the spirit of celebration which prevailed in the past. Can the event be repeated next year? The future will tell, the story is perhaps not over…”