'He changes bikes like his underwear' jokes Cavendish's Six Days of Ghent team-mate Iljo Keisse

The favoured team-mates have been testing their equipment ahead of the event in Belgium

Cavendish Keisse at Six Days of Ghent
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Iljo Keisse has joked that Six Days of Ghent team-mate Mark Cavendish is a perfectionist trying to find the correct bike, as the pair's preparations for the event in Belgium are fully underway. 

The Deceuninck–Quick-Step team-mates, highlighted by local media as 'King couple', have been testing their equipment ahead of the event at the 166m Ghent 't Kuipke track on November 17-22. 

The historic event returns after a year's layoff due to the pandemic, with 6,400 spectators expected in attendance each day at the velodrome.

Much is expected of the two riders, with Cavendish having won the 2016 Six Days with Bradley Wiggins, while the veteran Belgian has finished on the top step of the podium seven times in his career, with six different team-mates.

Keisse told Het Nieuwsblad at the Ghent Six presentation: “We trained together on Monday and he had some speed, he seemed OK.

“They're pretty good, but they’re not quite right yet. Cav changes bikes like underwear. He has decided to ride on a different frame and they’re being set-up and finished at the service course in Wevelgem. 

“When he stopped after 15 laps on Monday, I thought: here we go again. In the end he was only off the bike for five minutes and finished the rest of the training.” 

Cavendish and Keisse will be team-mates for the second time at the Ghent Six, following their second-place finish in 2014. However, the latter has promised that he'll try to stay calmer with the Briton this time around, claiming that he doesn't have the authority to order him around. 

He said: “I've resolved not to bark at Cav again in the six-day race. I’ve done it before but Cavendish has a track record that doesn't fit into the Ghent town hall. His palmarès is a hundred times bigger than mine, who am I to tell him what to do?

“I want to enjoy it more now than in years past, without gigantic pressure on my shoulders. Sometimes I could no longer see the beauty of the Six Days. Or I saw it, but I didn't enjoy it. That was all unnecessary. Cav and I are going to start and do our best. We'll see where we end up.”

Keisse, now 38-years-old, plans to retire at the end of 2022, making this Six Days of Ghent his penultimate ride at the event. However, that won't mean the Ghent-born rider is taking it easy, especially considering that he and Cavendish are still the favourites to win. 

The pair will ride the Three Days DBC event at the Ballerup Velodrome in Copenhagen this weekend, before they ride in the Six Days.

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Staff Writer

Ryan is a staff writer for Cycling Weekly, having joined the team in September 2021. He first joined Future in December 2020, working across FourFourTwo, Golf Monthly, Rugby World and Advnture's websites, before making his way to cycling. After graduating from Cardiff University with a degree in Journalism and Communications, Ryan earned a NCTJ qualification to further develop as a writer.