Six Day legend Patrick Sercu says that result of the London Six-Day was not fixed, and nor will that of the forthcoming Ghent Six
Cavendish and Wiggins raced to the roar of the home crowd in London’s Olympic velodrome, but on the final evening, lost their lead when rivals Kenny De Ketele and Moreno De Pauw lapped them in the final Madison.
Considering the six-day’s exhibition status that does not count towards national rankings, some may have believed the organiser arranged for the home stars to win.
“No. No,” Sercu told Cycling Weekly. “De Ketele has been racing six-days for around 10 years. An agreement?! No, the riders decide who wins with their pedals.
“The public, too, if you are good, you have the public behind you. It’s not like the classification is drawn up before the race. That’s only for people who don’t know anything about six-days.”
For those that do not know, Sercu is the most successful six-day cyclist. He raked in 88 six-day victories from the 1960s to 1980s. He paired with cycling great Eddy Merckx for 15 of those.
Sercu, now 72, spoke at length for an upcoming issue of Cycling Weekly magazine.
“People think too much that ‘The home rider must win.’ But it’s not that way. Listen, I won 88 six days and only 11 times in Ghent. So…” Sercu added.
” I was also a bit surprised. Wiggins for me was the best man on the track the whole week. I was thinking that Cavendish and Wiggins are better on bigger tracks like London and that they would have a better chance. De Ketele and De Pauw are better on smaller tracks, like Ghent.
“The two Belgians are a very good. They already won last year and De Ketele was world champion in the Madison. It’s not so much a surprise they won.”
Sercu is nearly retired, but still helps organise the riders’ contracts for the Six Days of Ghent. For 2016, he has one of the best line-ups in years with Wiggins lining up for his last race with Cavendish. Omnium Olympic Champion Elia Viviani (Sky) with home star Iljo Keisse (Etixx–Quick-Step). And of course, De Ketele and De Pauw.
Sercu laughed off the idea that Cavendish and Wiggins could have agreed to a London win in exchange for a Ghent victory for their Belgian rivals.
“I think they want to win both, London and Ghent. London is nice, but Ghent is very special with its history. It’s easy after a race to talk about agreements,” Sercu said.
“Keisse is always very good in Ghent and motivated. And remember, when we had Cavendish racing with Keisse in 2014, everyone thought that they would win, but they didn’t.”