By Brecht Decaluwé in Gent
In a serene atmosphere, the Gent Six Day paid tribute to Isaac Gálvez Lopez by unveiling a memorial plaque at the entrance of the race track building 't Kuipke'. A small group of organizers and riders united for a moment of reflection at the unveiling before the big event got under to pay tribute to the late Spanish champion.
Among the group of people paying tribute were race organizers Patrick Sercu and Rob Discart, representatives from the City of Gent and all professional riders who are competing in this year's Gent Six Day, which commenced last night. Gálvez's long-time track racing partner Juan Llaneras Rossello and Isaac's widow Davinia weren't present at the ceremony.
Discart made a short speech in which he talked about the tragic circumstances of the accident which claimed the rider's life and expressed his hope that Gálvez would not be forgotten. Rider Bruno Risi uncovered the plaque and local rider Iljo Keisse laid down flowers on behalf of the professional riders.
Many of the riders present were brought to tears during the ceremony, including Dimitri DeFauw, who was involved in the crash at last year's event. During the final Madison of the fifth night at last year's race, the Spaniard collided with DeFauw and flew into a railing, falling immediately unconscious. Medical personnel resuscitated Gálvez at the track, but he died en route to the hospital.