By Jonny Long
The Belgian duo of Kenny De Ketele and Robbe Ghys have clinched victory in a thrilling finale at the Ghent Six Day 2019.
De Ketele needed the final sprint of the final event of the competition, the Madison, to take the overall win as he just edged out Jasper De Buyst.
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De Buyst and his team-mate Tosh Van der Sande finished second, only five points behind, with the German pair of Roger Kluge and Theo Reinhardt, who had started the Madison in first after taking a lap, finished a fair way back in third, and were the final team of the 11 competing to finish on the same lap as the first two duos.
Mark Cavendish and Iljo Keisse were in contention to contest the overall victory, only trailing De Ketele and Ghys by a few points at the start of the Madison. However, after Keisse had attacked to try and snatch victory in the final phase, Cavendish failed to close the last gap to Kluge and Reinhardt and their chance was gone, finishing fourth after a sprited week of racing from the pair.
After this failed attack, De Buyst/Van der Sande and De Ketele/Ghys sprung to claw back the Germans, then lapping the field as the two pairs readied themselves to fight it out for victory, which was decided with the final sprint.
"What a day. I find myself completely hoarse," Kenny De Ketele told Sporza after his victory. "There have never been so many rounds in the final Madison. The pairs were very close to each other. If you can barely win and do, it is really special.
"This [win] is an incredible boost with a view to Tokyo 2020. Robbe and I want to profile ourselves as a couple and that worked out well here anyway. I was under attack, but I responded with the pedals."
Ghent Six Day 2019
1. De Ketele/Ghys (Belgium) – 301 pts
2.De Buyst/Van der Sande (Belgium) – 296 pts
3. Kluge/Reinhardt (Germany) – 212 pts
4. Keisse/Cavendish (Belgium/Great Britain) – 268 pts and 1 lap
5. Van Schip/Havik (Netherlands) – 299 pts and 2 laps
6. Vergaerde/Hesters (Belgium) – 211 pts and 11 laps
7. Hester/Van Den Bossche (Denmark/Belgium) - 116 pts and 17 laps
8. Rickaert/Pieters (Belgium/Netherlands) - 111 pts and 22 laps
9. De Vylder/Stroetinga (Belgium/Netherlands) - 87 pts and 22 laps
10. Wulff Frederiksen/Kneisky (Denmark/France) - 199 pts and 26 laps
11. Scartezzini/De Pauw (Italy/Belgium) - 168 pts and 32 laps
Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races. I'm 6'0", 26 years old, have a strong hairline and have an adequate amount of savings for someone my age. I'm very single at the minute so if you know anyone, hit me up.
Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab, reporting about students evacuating their bowels on nightclub dancefloors and consecrating their love on lecture hall floors. I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).
I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.
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