Ghent-Six 2022: everything you need to know

Our guide on everything Ghent-Six

Mark Cavendish and Iljo Keisse at the Ghent Six Day 2021
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Ghent-Six is a track cycling event which takes place every year in Ghent, Belgium.

The 2022 event takes place between November 15-20.

Here we present an easy-to-follow guide to the Ghent-Six competition.

So, why's it called a Six?

Well, to put it simply, it takes place over six days. 

But if we want more flesh on the bones here is some more info on the history of Six Day racing. It started out at Madison Square Garden in New York - where Madison comes from - back in the late 1800s.

This saw teams of two racing for 24 hours over six days and nights with one rider racing while the other rested. Sounds brutal, right?

The 24 hours of racing was stopped in the 1960s with races in Europe being the first to halt this, simply because it was idiotic as well as the fact that riders would neutralise the race in the small hours of night with crowds not exactly keen to stick around.

The Ghent Six Day runs for, well, believe it or not, six days, with the racing this year starting on Tuesday, November 15 and finishing on Sunday, November 20 with racing going into the late hours of one or two in the morning, 6pm on the Sunday

The Ghent Six Day runs for five evenings from Tuesday to Saturday, and a Sunday afternoon. The racing finishes at either 1am or 2am (6pm for Sunday's afternoon session).

Start list for the 2022 event


1.  Roger Kluge and Theo Reinhardt (Schneider Electric)
2.  Iljo Keisse and Jasper De Buyst (Lotto Soudal Quick-Step)
3. Lindsey De Vylder and Robbe Ghys (Baloise Insurance)
4. Ethan Hayter and Fred Wright (Callant)
5. Fabio Van de Bossche and Yoeri Havik (BelgaClima DS Plastics)
6. Jan-Willem van Schip and Tuur Dens (Etixx)
7. Gianluca Pollefliet and Noah Vandenbranden (Lotto)
8. Jules hesters and Tim Torn Teutenberg (Sport Vlaanderen)
9. Gerbern Thijsen and Julius Johansen (Super 8)
10. Silvan Dillier and Stijn Steels (Caruur)
11. Philip Heijnen and Vincent Hoppezak (De Feestarhitect)
12. Brent vVan Mulders and Matias Malmberg (Van Reusel)


Lotte Kopecky (Bel)
Shari Bossuyt (Bel)
Katrijn De Clerq (Bel)
Marith Vanhove (Bel)
Sara Maes (Bel)
Helene Hesters (Bel)
Febe Joris (Bel)
Lani Wittevrongel (Bel)
Marit Raaijmakers (Bel)
Babette Van der Wolf (Ned)
Yuli Van der Molen (Ned)
Daniek Hengeveld (Ned)

U23 (Support programme)

1. Arthur Senrame and Renao Raes (Bel)
2. Michel L'Eau and Lennert Bertels (Bel)
3. Jasper Bertels and Milan Van den Haute (Bel)
4. Tom Crabbe and Stan Dens (Bel)
5. Niccolo Galli and Matteo Pinazzi (Ita)
6. Nicholas Hamon and Higo Pommelet  (Fra)
7. Benjamin Boos and Malte Maschke (Ger)
8. Calum Moir and Matthew Brennan (Gbr)
9.  Ben Wiggins and Harry Cadd (Gbr)
10. Fabian Weiss and Damien Fortis (Sui)
11. Justus Willemsen and Elmar Aba (Ned)
12. Philip Matheisen and Peter Bheki (Den) 

What's the racing like?

The joys of Six Day racing can also be incredibly confusing and difficult to follow, especially when riders are looking to gain laps on each other as well as taking points on sprint laps. 

Some of the races include the Derny race where riders follow a pedalled motorbike around the track reaching amazing speeds, the Elimination race, the Scratch race, Madison, one lap time trial.

How do they decide who wins?

So you have to know your maths, so do the riders. Some will be having to watch the big screens and calculate what they need to either hold the lead, take the lead or fight for a better position in the overall.

It's based on points given on sprint laps, with five down to one on those, double on the finish with 20 points available for a lap gain, mainly in the Madison, and -20 points for losing a lap. This applies to most races except the Scratch, Elimination and the Derny where the points are decided on your finishing place. To add to the complication, every 100 points won the team is given a free lap.

By the way, sprint laps are announced by a bell in the middle of the track.

How far do they race?

This is very hard to calculate due to rider being in and out of the race as they take turns racing with their team-mate. 

When they are not racing they are usually keeping out of the way at the top of the track.

Really it's a wonder they don't get dizzy and fall off with laps lasting around 11 to 12 seconds over hundreds of laps per night. If it has been a tough week it is possible that they will be racing around 1,000km.

Why are some riders listed on teams that they are not usually sponsored by?

Local sponsors pay to be associated with the teams.

Why the hype?

The Kuipke is unique in the world of European velodromes, firstly due to it being much shorter than the standard velodrome (which is 250m) as this venue is 166-metres long, this makes it a close and intimate venue with incredibly steep banking on the corners.

Then there's the aroma - broiling hot dogs, beer, cheap perfume... And that's just the riders!

The Ghent Six Day may not be the slickest but it's the most authentic and the fans turn out year after year to pack out the arena. It's noisy, boozy and exhilarating.

How long has it been going?

The Ghent Six Day was first held back in 1922 which was won by Marcel Buysse and the superbly named Oscar Egg. Great rider, but he didn’t half cause a mess when he fell off.

The rider who has won the event the most times is Patrick Sercu who claimed victory with various team-mates 11 times. Australian rider Danny Clark has six.

Bradley Wiggins has won the event twice (2003/2016) and come second once (2002) making him the most successful Brit at the event, taking the 2016 event as Madison world champions along with Mark Cavendish.

Cavendish had also come second along with Deceuninck - Quick-Step team-mate and Six Day racing legend, Iljo Keisse in 2014.

The last winners of the event was another Six Day star in Kenny De Ketele, along with new partner Robbe Ghys back in 2019. There was not 2020 event due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Why do they tuck their jerseys into their shorts?

This has become something of a tradition, and we all know cycling and it's traditions. It's basically a nod back to the times where jerseys were quite baggy and needed to be tucked in. 

They look like muppets now and we would not recommend it for a steady pedal round your local roads. Although, saying that, long socks and socks over leggings have caught on, so who knows! Be a trend setter.

More info: Ghent Six Day website

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