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Iljo Keisse during the 2008 Gent Six Day.
Cleared of doping, Belgian can defend overall title
Belgian track cyclist Iljo Keisse will return to the Zesdaagse van Gent (Gent Six day) at the end of November, not with the partner who rode with him for the past two years, Robert Bartko, but with another German, Roger Kluge.
Keisse won the event last year with Bartko, but was subsequently declared positive for doping after a control showed two banned substances, cathine and HCT. He fought the charges, and was cleared of a doping offense after the Belgian federation decided his positive was the result of a contaminated nutritional supplement.
Keisse has won the Gent Six Day three times - in 2005 with Matthew Gilmore, and in 2007 and 2008 with Bartko, but was in the lead with the German when the 2006 event was cancelled following the death of Isaac Galvez on night five.
The 26-year-old was roundly criticized by Bartko following the positive doping control.
Keisse's new partner, Kluge recently won the Six Days of Amsterdam with Bartko. The 23-year-old German was the silver medallist in the points race at the Beijing Olympic Games.
Bartko will pair with Kenny De Ketele, the Belgian who rode with Keisse in Amsterdam. According to sporza.be, De Ketele had hoped to stay with Keisse, but the organization chose to separate the pair.
The 69th edition of the Gent Six Day takes place from November 24 to 29.
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