Lotto 6-Days Flanders-Gent Day 6: Cav and Keisse 2nd After Action Packed Final Madison!
Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team riders Mark Cavendish and Iljo Keisse knew they needed a lap late in the Final Madison to win Lotto 6-Days Flanders-Gent, after a challenging week of clawing their way into the top overall spot and defending their leadership.
Kenny De Ketele and Jasper De Buyst entered the Final Madison as leaders, but Cav and Keisse went on the attack and reclaimed their place on the top step by getting a lap. However, with 20 laps to go, De Buyst and De Ketele again took the GC leadership. It was up to Keisse and Cavendish to go on the offensive once again as it was their last chance for victory. They did exactly that, and it was a close call for holding the gap and taking the crucial lap that would seal the win.
Unfortunately, the gap was too small and they were caught before the finish, which meant De Buyst and De Ketele won the Gent 6-Days and Cavendish and Keisse were 2nd overall.
The duo won the Team Elimination event earlier in the day, and Keisse also won the Derny event.
"I'm disappointed, but we were beaten by a great team," Cavendish said. "They were strong all week. It took me three or four days to get into a good rhythm after not racing track for 7 years. I told Iljo when we started after that adjustment time, if I felt that good at the beginning of the week we would win the 6-Days. I was trying to get my track legs back. We couldn't pick up the points early on that the other guys were, and in the end it put us on the back foot and chasing all week. But I'm proud of what we did coming back into the lead before the last day. Today De Ketele and De Buyst were too vigilant. At first we were on the defensive, trying to prevent them from getting a lap back. Then we had to go on the attack again. We tried everything, but in the end we were 2nd. But in the end I'm happy with how we did. I had the best partner and such a good friend of mine in Iljo. For me, it's an honor to ride with him. Also, the fans are incredible here in Gent. It's a special place. It's never been a secret I'm very fond of Belgium. I won my first pro race here at Scheldeprijs. I now ride for Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, a Belgian based team. There's such a history of cycling in Belgium and I'm super proud to be here."
"It's been a hard fight, and in the end I'm pretty disappointed we didn't win," Keisse said. "Because it was a great final. I absolutely wanted to win with Mark. I feel a little bit sorry for him because it was an adjustment period the first two days and we were on a really good level the last few days. It makes it twice as painful. But OK, considering that, we still were in the lead for two days, had a strong possibility of winning the overall, and finished 2nd. There are plenty of good things to take away from this race. I was really looking forward to racing with Mark. It was a dream. He was in really good shape and I hope we can do this again in the future."
Lotto 6-Days Flanders-Gent Final Overall
1 Team Baloise Insurance
De Buyst Jasper - De Ketele Kenny 440 points
2 Team Omega Pharma - Quickstep
Cavendish Mark - Keisse Iljo 394
3 Team Caruur
Lampater Leif - Dillier Silvan 1 311
4 Team Lotto
Rasmussen Alex - Hester Marc 2 279
5 Team Topsport Vlaanderen
Stopler Nick - Vergaerde Otto 7 215