Mark Cavendish continued his winning streak at the Six Day London track event at the Lee Valley velodrome in the British capital on Thursday evening, winning both the 40-lap Derny event and the Team Elimination Race with partner Owain Doull.
But it was pair no. 5 – Elia Viviani and Simone Consonni – who took over at the top of the overall standings from French duo Bryan Coquard and Donavan Grondin thanks to Viviani's win in the 7.5km Points Race and second place to Cavendish and Doull in the Elimination Race.
Cavendish overcame the only two riders capable of staying with him, Denmark's Oliver Wulff and Maximilian Beyer of Germany, but admitted afterwards that he hadn't heard the bell indicating the final lap due to the noise of the crowd, and was just relieved to still be on the front going across the line, as he said that he was at his limit.
"I was thinking, 'They're going to come, they're going to come,' but then all of a sudden we'd finished," he said in a video on the Six Day London Twitter feed.
"I don't know how I'm going to be in the next races. A Six Day is like a Grand Tour – everything you do affects you, and I went a bit deep there, actually. But I'm really happy," smiled Cavendish.
There was another win for sprint star Caleb Ewan in the second and last Derny race of the night, with the Australian now taking on compatriot Zac Gilmore as his partner for the rest of the meet as a result of original partner Josh Harrison being forced to quit due to illness.
But arguably the race of the night came when Viviani and Cavendish went head-to-head in the closing stages of the Elimination Race as the last two teams standing. Viviani led into the final lap, but Cavendish was able to come over the top on the final bend to win by a wheel length, to the delight of the home crowd.
"I anticipated Cav’s sprint, but my legs were completely done and he just jumped me on the line," Viviani explained afterwards.
"Losing to Cav is never good, but I spoke to him straight after the race and it's just good to have him back at this level and in good shape," said the Italian, who will join French team Cofidis on the road next season, following two seasons with Deceuninck-QuickStep, while Cavendish is out of contract with his Dimension Data squad and is rumoured to be joining Bahrain-Merida.
"Next year is another big year, and maybe we can come back to sprinting against each other on the road. Why not?" Viviani said.
Viviani and Consonni now lead the competition at its halfway mark by 12 points over Cavendish and Doull, who have moved up to second place. The previous leaders, Frenchmen Coquard and Grondin, have dropped back to fourth, with Dutch pair Wim Stroetinga and Yoeri Havik retaining their third place in the standings.
Number 2 for the number 2 as @MarkCavendish claims his second Derny win of the week 👏The Manx Missile said afterwards he thought there was still one more lap to go as well 😆Will we see more #SixDayLondon victories from him this week?? pic.twitter.com/zoHIIPnPtZOctober 24, 2019
THAT is what we've all been waiting for 😍@eliaviviani 🆚 @MarkCavendish And it went right down to the wire! 😱The Manx Missile comes from behind to help claim the Team Elimination with @owaindoull 💪Best #SixDayLondon battle so far?? pic.twitter.com/NvwNzg6aX9October 24, 2019