Mark Cavendish and Iljo Keisse have admitted they were disappointed to finish second in the Gent Six behind Jasper De Buyst and Kenny De Ketele (Baloise Insurance) after failing to take the lap that would have given them victory during the final Madison of the race.
De Buyst and De Ketele led for much of the event after consistently scoring points in the opening evenings of racing. Cavendish and Keisse managed to take the lead on Friday night after taking a lap but the track expertise of De Buyst and De Ketele shone through and they ended the six day with total of 440 points, 46 more than Cavendish and Keisse. Leif Lampater and Silvan Dillier (Caruur) finished third with 311 points, one lap down.
"I'm disappointed, but we were beaten by a great team. They were strong all week," Cavendish said in a statement released by his Omega Pharma-QuickStep team.
"It took me three or four days to get into a good rhythm after not racing track for seven 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.
"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 second. 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."
Cavendish continues his track activity later this week at the Zurich Six, which takes place from November 26 to 29. He will again be partnered by Keisse.
The Manxman will then return to the road and join up with his Omega Pharma-QuickStep teammates in December for a training camp. Cavendish has already confirmed that he will begin his 2015 season at the Tour de San Luis (Jan 19-25) in Argentina, alongside teammate and world champion Michal Kwiatkowski.