Mark Cavendish and Iljo Keisse (Omega Pharma – QuickStep) edged closer to the overall lead at the Gent Six during the third night of racing on Thursday but remain 45 points behind Jasper De Buyst and Kenny De Ketele (Baloise Insurance).
UCI President Brian Cookson watched the racing as a guest of the Belgian Cycling Federation before attending a key meeting of the AIOCC race organisers association at the Flanders cycling museum.
The Belgian pair lead with a total of 231 points but Cavendish and Keisse now have 187 points after a solid performance on the tight 166m track. Danish pair Alex Rasmussen and Marc Hester (Team Lotto) are third with 162 points but are a lap down on the leaders.
Cavendish and Keisse clashed with De Buyst and De Ketele in the first Madison of the evening, with the Belgians taking victory to score 20 points, while the Omega Pharma-QuickStep pair had to settle for second place and 12 points.
De Buyst and De Ketele also won the one-lap time trial and the third series of the Derny. Cavendish and Keisse bounced back to take score 10 points in the Elimination and won the Super Sprint event. They finished sixth in the final Madison of the evening and pulled back six points on De Buyst and De Ketele, who only finished tenth.
It's not bad, but it could be better," Keisse told Sporza after the racing. "However, our points behind is called already big. I can certainly not deny it."
Keisse admitted that they must start to reduce the gap if they are to win the Gent Six.
"It's not too bad, but it could be better. However our gap in the points is already big, I certainly can't deny it," he said.
"Unlike other years, I don't have super feelings. I do not know what it is, but I don't feel 100% right. Maybe something is coming on. Hopefully will improve as the Six Day progresses and I'll find my good condition. We need to start scoring more points or perhaps even take a lap round during a Madison. Of course it's never easy."
The Gent Six continues on Friday with the fourth evening of racing.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Points|
|1||Jasper De Buyst (Bel) / Kenny De Ketele (Bel) Baloise Insurance||231||pts|
|2||Mark Cavendish (GBr) / Iljo Keisse (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quickstep||187|
|3||Alex Rasmussen (Den) / Marc Hester (Den) Team Lotto||162 - 1 lap|
|4||Leif Lampater (Ger) / Silvan Dillier (Sui) Team Caruur||150|
|5||Nick Stöpler (Bel) / Otto Vergaerde (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen||121|
|6||Moreno De Pauw (Bel) / Christian Grasmann (Ger) Provincie Oost-Vlaanderen||104 - 2 laps|
|7||Glen O'Shea (Aus) / Shane Archbold (NZl) Callant - Upgrade Estate||122 - 3 laps|
|8||Albert Torres (Esp) / David Muntaner (Esp) John Saey - Lecot||82|
|9||Morgan Kneisky (Fra) / Vivien Brisse (Fra) T-interim||47 - 9 laps|
|10||Ivan Savitsky (Rus) / Viktor Manakov (Rus) Primus Haacht||69 - 10 laps|
|11||Michael Vingerling / Yoeri Havik (Ned) Team 3M||34 - 12 laps|
|12||Liss Lucas (Ger) / Andreas Muller (Ger) Vanreusel Snacks||12 - 13 laps|
|13||Didier Caspers (Ned) / Melvin Van Zijl (Ned) Eurotyre - JDK||6 - 13 lap|