The legendary Gent Six Day track event starts on Tuesday, November 14, with defending title holders Lindsay De Vylder and Robbe Ghys looking to go back-to-back against Madison World Champions, Yoeri Havik and Jan-Willem van Schip.
Belgian superstar Lotte Kopecky will also be in action during the women’s competition at the weekend.
Ghys and De Vylder led the early phases of the Madison at the recent Glasgow Worlds, before losing the lead to the Dutch duo and falling completely out of the medals amidst the chaos of the 20th and final sprint, which was obviously tough to take.
“Three months later, the World Championships are still like an open wound for me,” said De Vylder. “The confrontation is going to hurt, but they deserve it. I am at peace with the fact that they won. It’s mainly my own loss that bothers me.”
“It’s more like a double leg break. I well up just thinking about it. You can’t ignore that something like that will hurt. Until the penultimate sprint, I thought we would be in their place,” agreed Ghys.
“But I have beaten World Champions in the past. In Gent, I will do all I can to do that again. It is not the same as a World title, but the Lotto Zesdaagse Vlaanderen-Ghent is also at the top of my list of important races.”
A sold-out crowd will take in the 82nd edition of the famous track event, with its iconic 166m track much shorter than the normal 250m tracks raced on at the Olympics. Mark Cavendish described it as a “wall of death” in 2016 before he went on to win the event with Bradley Wiggins.
It will be a strange year, however, as the fabled boards at Gent’s ‘t Kuipke Velodrome won’t see local legend and seven-time winner Iljo Keisse take the start after ending his career at the event in 2022 and being crowned ‘Emperor of ‘t Kuipke’.
Across the six days of racing, 12 men’s pairs will battle it out for the overall title, with track stars littered throughout the lineup. Two-time Madison World Champion-winning pair Roger Kluge and Theo Reinhardt will lead the German charge, while the Madison silver medallists from Glasgow Mark Stewart and Oliver Wood, will also be present.
Kopecky will headline the event as a world champion on the road and in two track events – the Points Race and Elimination Race.
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