The Madison World Champion pair Alex Rasmussen and Michael Mørkøv took home the biggest Six Day win of their careers in the Six Days of Flanders in Gent, Belgium on Sunday.
The Saxo Bank riders overcame a three point deficit to hometown favourite Iljo Keisse and his German partner Roger Kluge on the night's final race to claim the overall victory.
Both pairs pulled themselves onto the same lap as the morning's leaders Bruno Risi and Franco Marvulli , and the Dutch/German pair Danny Stam and Leif Lampater through the one bonus lap awarded for every 100 points gained. In doing so, they moved ahead thanks to a superior point tally.
The World Champions then traded blows with Keisse and Kluge in the events leading up to the final Madison, heading into the last race in a near dead heat on points for the lead.
The formidable sprinting of Kluge was no match for the Danes, who were able to accumulate 40 points to Keisse and Kluge's 32 to claim the overall victory. The winners of the final Madison, Kenny De Ketele and Peter Schep, were three laps down at the start of the last day of racing, and were no threat to those contending for the overall win.
"By winning a bonus lap, we brought ourselves in a situation where we didn't need to worry about struggling to gain a lap," explained Mørkøv.
"We raced a clever finale where the other couples were attacking one another. We could save our strength for the finale."
The pair conserved their strength, contesting the intermediate sprints to gain a point here and there, but then putting all of their focus on the lucrative final sprint.
"I would not say we were the strongest team, because Risi and Marvulli were incredibly strong. But we have a strong final sprint and that was our lucky break," Mørkøv said to Belga.
The Danes have won the Grenoble Six Day twice, but the victory in Gent is the most prestigious win next to their world title.
"It is clearly the biggest victory we have won. It is incredibly difficult to win away and especially here in the strongest field of all, where the prestige is enormous. The victory means that we have shown the other riders that we have the stamimna for all six days. It gives us a strong confidence which can be used in future races."
Keisse, who effectively won the past four editions of the race, had the 2006 edition not been canceled on the penultimate day, was disappointed to lose after gaining strong support from his home crowd.
"Rasmussen is one of the fastest riders on the boards," said Keisse. "For me it is extremely difficult to beat him in a sprint. We have tried to get away, but that was not very successful. Whether the Six Day lasted one round too long, well, we had all week to gather more points."
"We did everything we could and we have nothing to blame. Unfortunately, it did not work."