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De Ketele and de Pauw show class with dominant Gent victory

20 November 2017

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You can’t keep a good man down – or so the saying goes. But in Six Day terms you can’t keep a good team down, and that proved the case last week as Moreno de Pauw and Kenny de Ketele bounced back with a vengeance.

The duo, two-time winners at Six Day London, could only manage the third step of the podium at the Lee Valley VeloPark last month.

De Ketele’s fractured hip in early September had a lot to do with that, but now back to full fitness they proved their class with a win at their home Six Day in Gent.

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The pair had never won it previously, finishing second behind Sir Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish last year in a reverse of the Six Day London top two, but de Ketele has previously tasted success in ‘t Kuipke with a victory alongside Jasper de Buyst in 2014, and with Robert Bartko three years earlier.

But they dominated from start to finish in 2017, leading at the end of every night and racking up 75 more points than their closest rivals – Madison world champions Morgan Kneisky and Benjamin Thomas.

“From day one we showed we were a force to be reckoned with,” a delighted De Pauw said. “We took the lead on the first night and we only had to give it up a couple of times.

This moment… Thank you everyone for your support! 1 of the best weeks in my life! Love to see you all again next year! @zesdaagsegent @morenodepauw ❤️ 📸 livecyclingpics

A post shared by Kenny De Ketele (@deketelekenny) on

“Our goal was to quickly build up a gap. Every day we managed to defend our spot, although we certainly didn’t get any gifts from the other teams.

“I also managed to shine during the one-lap time trials and broke the track record. That was amazing.”

The French duo finished two laps down on the home favourites in second place, while the Netherlands’ Yoeri Havik and Wim Stroetinga – the latter another to show his strength on the injury comeback trail – finished third.

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And for de Ketele, the fact their margin of victory left the crowd without a nail-biting climax did not matter one bit.

“Maybe this wasn’t the most exciting finale every in Gent but I don’t really care,” he added.

“We won the Six Days and that’s all that matters. There’s only six six-day races left on the calendar.

“This is what we live for. Maybe there should be more couples like us but it’s not our fault that we dominated the event. This is our trade.

“Next year we will come back to defend our victory.”

Things did not go to plan for Six Day London winners Callum Scotson and Cameron Meyer, though, as the latter suffered a heavy crash on night three that saw the Madison abandoned and him taken to hospital.

Ollie Wood and Marc Hester also came down in the melee and all three were back on track the following night, but showing the effects of their coming together.

The Australians ended up ninth of 12 teams, 23 laps down on the Belgians, while Wood – riding with mark Stewart – was one place behind, a further lap adrift.

If the walking wounded need any inspiration for a comeback from their crash, though, they need look no further than Gent women’s omnium winner Marit Raaijmakers.

The Dutch teen crashed on night one of women’s racing at Six Day London last year, breaking her collarbone, but was back in race-winning form just six weeks later at Six Day Amsterdam.

And her form has continued into this season as she beat Six Day Copenhagen champion Trine Schmidt to the omnium title in Gent, while Kirsten Wild and Amy Pieters beat world champions Jolien D’hoore and Lotte Kopecky to the women’s Madison title.

And the last bit of Six Day London success in Belgium saw Jules Hesters and Bryan Boussaer show their 1878 Cup victory was no fluke, as they went on to win the U23 AVC-Cup by five laps.

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