"His accident and retirement are a disaster, also for me"
By Brecht Decaluwé in Ronse
World points race runner-up Iljo Keisse showed himself on the roads near Ronse in an attack during the Belgian national road championships on Sunday, while riding between the big names of Belgian road cycling. He tried his luck in the finale, but he'd end up finishing 29th.
Keisse's performance on the road didn't come as a real surprise; he had already finished a remarkable third place in the semi-classic Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne shortly after the end of his winter track season. The Belgian is from Gent, which is hosting the finish of stage 2 of this year's Tour de France stage finish. Gent is also where he won the six-day event that was stopped after the fatal accident involving Isaac Galvez Lopez. Last winter, Keisse also won the Rotterdam six-day.
"For me, this is just something to keep me busy as this is all training, more or less, for the track competition," Keisse said to Cyclingnews. "I hoped to be a little better because when they pulled hard in front, I felt that it wasn't my day. I realized I had to anticipate, and that's why I attacked.
"Not much later we got caught, and then the real firework started off. At that moment, I had already used one of my cartridges for nothing," said Keisse, who seemed unhappy about his tactics. In the past, Keisse partnered with Matthew Gilmore, an Australian-Belgian cyclist who had to retire after a complex knee injury.
"His accident and retirement are a disaster - also for me - as I've got to find my way by myself. Matthew had a lot of bad luck, also earlier in his career. I'm happy that he received the opportunity to work as a coach. Hopefully it's a more fortunate future for him," Keisse said about his former track partner.
"The Olympics are coming up pretty soon, and I still have to find a partner for the Madison." Young track racer Kenny De Ketele, who showed himself in the early breakaway in Ronse, is an option for a partner for Keisse in Beijing. "The points race is individual, so that's no problem, but for the Madison, Kenny De Ketele is a candidate," said Keisse. "We'll be testing some combinations in the upcoming World Cup events."