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Mark Cavendish, left, partnered with Bradley Wiggins in the Madison at the 2008 Olympic Games.
Riders express mutual desire to pair up on track
Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins and Omega Pharma-Quick Step rider Iljo Keisse have exchanged messages over Twitter revealing they both would like to ride together at the legendary Gent Six Day track event taking place between November 20-25. Wiggins, who was born in Gent, Belgium, won the Six Day once, in 2003 with Matthew Gilmore, and Keisse, a multiple champion on the track, was part of the winning pair in Gent five times.
"Saw on the internet that you want to ride the Gent six... Riding with you would be such an honour and a dream!" Keisse tweeted on Thursday. Wiggins' response came without delay: "Be a dream of mine, speak with Patrick [Sercu, the race organiser - ed.]."
Keisse's last victory of the Six Day track racing event in the heart of Belgium came in 2010 with Peter Schep as a partner. While he also paired with Matthew Gilmore at the beginning of his career, he raced with Robert Bartko from 2006-2008 and then changed again to team up with Peter Schep. It is common practice in track racing to change partners, especially for the Six Days.
Wiggins had expressed his desire to race the Gent Six Day again this year after his last participation in 2007, which saw him ride with Mark Cavendish but not achieve the final victory.
Keisse returned to racing this year after sitting out a complicated ban for doping following a positive test at the Gent Six Day in November 2008. The Belgian federation banned him for two years, but then lifted that ban at the end of 2009 and he resumed racing. The UCI appealed that decision, and the CAS overturned it, confirming that Keisse was to sit out his entire ban. He was allowed to ride in all areas other than Belgium as of August 2011, but was only allowed to ride in Belgium again as of January 27, 2012.