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Cavendish and Keisse win Memorial Sercu at Gent Six Day despite beer spill

Iljo Keisse and Mark Cavendish make a changeover at the 2019 Gent Six Day
Iljo Keisse and Mark Cavendish make a changeover at the 2019 Gent Six Day
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Mark Cavendish and Iljo Keisse kept themselves in the hunt for the Gent Six Day title with victory in the Memorial Patrick Sercu on day four of the event. 

The hour-long Madison race was dedicated to the memory of Sercu, the 11-time Gent Six winner who died in April at the age of 74. The race was started by his granddaughter, Camille, while his son, Christophe, works as part of the organisation team.

The race had to be neutralised for several minutes after a spectator dropped a pint of beer onto the track. The hour-long race was already 45 minutes old when the drink fell through the gap between the hoarding at the top of the track - where fans often put their drinks - and the metal barrier. 

Track manager Nico Impens climbed a ladder up the steep banking with a drying device to ensure there was no danger of the riders slipping on wet boards.

Cavendish and Keisse had just launched an attack to try and gain a lap - chasing leaders Kenny De Ketele-Robbe Ghys and Jasper De Buyst-Tosh Van der Sande - when the beer was spilled. Despite the setback, they later clinched the lap before winning the sprint to take the victory. 

De Ketele, however, was not happy with the disturbance. "We took a very fast lap in which we put everyone in trouble," he told Belgian radio. "We were ready to put everyone in checkmate and the pint hits the track. I didn't know where I was anymore. I am so angry that people are so careless."

De Ketele and Ghys still finished the night with their overall lead in tact. De Buyst won the points race and the super sprint, while Moreno de Pauw won the 500m time trial and Ghys won the derny final. 

With two days remaining, De Ketele and Ghys lead with 197 points, 13 clear of De Buyst and Van der Sande and 25 clear of Cavendish and Keisse.