At the Gent Six Day on Sunday, Lindsay De Vylder and Robbe Ghys won the overall championship with a victory in the Madison. On Saturday, Yoeri Havik of the Netherlands and Fabio van den Bossche of Belgium had a one-lap lead over the Belgian pair.
The evening culminated with a resounding victory for the home team in the men’s Madison, delighting the partisan audience. It was the last time Belgian legend Iljo Keisse will ever compete on a track after a 30-year career. Both he and fellow Belgian Jasper De Buyst came in third.
Keisse, 39, had his last competitive appearance this week, and the audience at the ‘t Kuipke velodrome in the Belgian city of Gent applauded him on the whole time. He had already declared his retirement for the year, therefore this would be his 18th and last appearance at Gent Six.
I’m at a loss for words. This is where it started. While watching the cyclists from the stands as a youngster, “I was dreaming of riding the Six Days,” Keisse stated in a team statement following the race. It took me a long time to get here, but in 2005 I finally did it. That was the pinnacle, the fulfillment of a lifelong desire.
Since then, success in Six Day events came at an increasing rate, and I relished every minute of it. I owe a great debt of gratitude to the incredible audience that gave me so much, and I made serious efforts to repay them. It was an incredible adventure, and I appreciate everything that helped me along the way.
Six days of racing at t Kuipke come down to only one event
After six days of competition, the final Madison determined who would finish on the podium. Keisse and De Buyst of Belgium and Jules Hesters and Torn Teutenberg of Belgium and Germany were both within striking distance of the first and second-place teams, who were locked in a tight five-point battle.
With the advantage they had established earlier in the day intact, De Vylder and Ghys finished the day with 356 points. The second-place Belgian-Dutch team gained 337 points after winning the Madison final sprint on the first day of the competition on Tuesday. Through hard labor, Keisse and De Buyst moved up to third place.
Keisse, known as “the King of ‘t Kuipke” for his dominance in races lasting six days, was closing in on a perfect record of 28 individual triumphs and seven overall crowns. The velodrome erupted in cheers when he not only won his last solo race (the Derny), but also lapped the field with his teammate, De Buyst, in the Madison. It also placed them back on the same lap as the leaders, increasing their chances of finishing on the podium.
“I consider it a little honor to have been a part of Iljo’s career and to have been able to inflict pain on him personally. “I hope I can get close to his seven wins,” Ghys said to Sporza following his third consecutive championship.
I’m looking forward to a fantastic year in 2023, and I’m excited to get started with my new team (Alpecin-Deceuninck) tomorrow.”
Gent Six Day, which has been celebrated for a century, took place on the 166.67m velodrome in Belgium. Bradley Wiggins, a two-time champion, shot off the starting pistol during the opening ceremonies.