Mark Cavendish and Iljo Keisse are within touching distance of the lead at the halfway stage of the Ghent Six Day 2019.
They currently sit in fifth position, 24 points off the top spot, with the Belgian duo of Kenny de Ketele and Robbe Ghys in first, leading Dutch pair Jan-Willem Van Schip and Yoeri Havik by just one point.
Of the top six pairings, just 57 points separate them as they all remain on the same lap with three days left to race.
Cavendish won the second points race of the evening on day three on Thursday night, with Keisse then taking victory in the second Derny race to make sure they remain in contention.
De Ketele and Ghys slipped into the victory by virtue of their victory in the first Madison race.
Alongside the electric racing, the 2019 edition of the storied track event has been marred by Gerben Thijssen’s awful crash on the first night.
The night’s racing was cut short after the 21-year-old’s heavy fall, with Thijssen immediately taking to hospital and placed in intensive care after suffering three small brain bleeds, three broken ribs and a fractured collarbone.
His road team, Lotto-Soudal, confirmed that his condition was stable and improving slightly on Wednesday, and has been able to have a small conversation with his family.
Para-cyclists Kris Bosmans and Diederick Schelfhout then crashed into the stands on Wednesday night during the team sprint, with Bosmans sustaining a complex fracture to his leg and Schelfhout fracturing a vertebrae. A spectator also suffered minor injuries and received care at the track.
Mark Cavendish has also been in the wars, crashing at 70km/h before Thijssen’s crash later on Tuesday night, with the Manxman forced to skip the rest of the one-lap time trial event after hitting his head in the fall.
Ghent Six Day 2019 – after three days of racing
1. De Ketele/Ghys (Belgium) – 144 pts
2. Van Schip/Havik (Netherlands) – 143 pts
3. Vergaerde/Hesters (Belgium) – 135 pts
4. De Buyst/Van der Sande (Belgium) – 130 pts
5. Keisse/Cavendish (Belgium/Great Britain) – 120 pts
6. Kluge/Reinhardt (Germany) – 87 pts