Iljo Keisse and Michael Mørkøv rode emphatically to victory on the final day of the 2015 Ghent Six-Day, after taking victory in the final Madison of the event.
The Etixx pair led into the final day, having regained their advantage at the top of the standings on day four of the race. But they were made to work hard for their victory, with the top four teams all starting day six with a chance of victory.
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As the teams battled for points throughout the events on Sunday afternoon, Keisse and Mørkøv found themselves level on points with Topsport Vlaanderen pair Kenny de Ketele and Gijs van Hoecke as they headed into the final Madison, setting up a thrilling finale.
Their pairs looked to take laps off each other from the outset, with a number of bonus laps being exchanged throughout before intermediate sprints began with 50 laps to go.
After the third sprint point, and with no team holding any laps advantage, Mørkøv made a decisive attack from the bunch and gaining a lot of ground, before handing over to his teammate who bridged across to give them a lap.
It was too late for De Ketele and Van Hoecke to respond with too few laps remaining, and signalled victory for the Etixx duo who dominated the event for the most part.
For Keisse, it’s his sixth victory in the prestigious six-day, and a a first win for the Belgian since 2012 after two second place finishes.
“I’m really happy about this victory” Keisse said. “It’s a race that I love and I have a special feeling with the public. They really pushed me and my teammate today!
“Morkov was great. We worked really well together the whole week. He is very strong. He has a great technique and tactically he knows how to do it. For me it was a little bit difficult after the crash I suffered the first night, but fortunately everything worked out well and we finished it out with the support of the public.
“I think they really enjoyed the race and the balance between the teams,” he continued. “The last Madison was difficult but spectacular. We knew we were good with the points but we decided to try and go for the lap to avoid a final sprint against fast couples.
“Everything went well, and finally I can celebrate again a victory after two second places in the last two years. That’s a nice moment for me. I started as a cyclist here at T’Kuipke. This track is really magic.”
Their was success for Britain during the week in the U23 Memorial Noël Foré, which preceeded the men’s racing each day, with Germain Burton and Mark Stewart taking victory with 124 points ahead of the pair of Killian Madden and Matthias Van Beethoven, who took second place.
Ghent Six-Day 2015 – Final classification:
1. Iljo Keisse/Michael Mørkøv – 457 points
2. Gijs Van Hoecke/Kenny De Ketele – 449 points + 1 lap
3. Jasper De Buyst/Otto Vergaerde – 442 points + 1 lap
4. Marc Hester/Alex Rasmussen – 212 + 2 lap
5. Moreno De Pauw/Morgan Kneisky – 371 points + 14 laps
6. Jesper Mørkøv/Nick Stöpler – 156 points + 16 laps
7. Melvin van Zijl/Yoeri Havik – 138 points + 20 laps
8. Christian Grasmann/Marcel Kalz – 122 points + 20 laps
9. Stijn Steels/Andreas Müller – 76 points + 45 laps
10. David Muntaner/Lyndsay De Vylder – 79 points + 49 laps
11. Christopher Lawless/Roy Pieters – 83 points + 52 laps
12. Benjamin Thomas/Tristan Marguet – 62 points + 62 laps