De Ketele and Ghys surge to Ghent Six overall after crash-marred Madison

Kenny De Ketele and Robbe Ghys win the overall at Ghent Six
Kenny De Ketele and Robbe Ghys win the overall at Ghent Six (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Kenny De Ketele and Robbe Ghys won the overall classification at Ghent Six, holding off Roger Kluge and Jasper De Buyst in the final Madison event. The reigning World Champions in the discipline, Michael Mørkøv and Lasse Norman Hansen, finished third.

Those three teams entered the sixth day of racing at the legendary 166-metre 't Kuipke with a chance for the title. De Buyst and Kluge, who both race for Lotto Soudal on the road, held the lead on the opening day. The Danish duo of Mørkøv and Hansen overtook them on the GC for the next four days, bringing a 15-point lead into the sixth round over De Ketele and Ghys, the defending champions from 2019. The Lotto Soudal pair were within striking distance at another 67 points back. In fourth place was Iljo Keisse and Mark Cavendish, with other teams well distanced.

Keisse and Cavendish won the Madison on the opening day, but disaster struck in the final contest on Sunday evening when Cavendish crashed along with Hansen, after their respective teams had taken a lap lead and had tightened the overall competition.

At the time of the crash, the race was neutralised. Both riders were able to stand under their own power, but only Hansen could return to the bike and continue racing after a delay of 40 minutes. Cavendish was placed on a stretcher and taken to a local hospital, however, he waved to the crowd as he was taken from the track.

When racing resumed with 50 laps to go, the battle was reduced to two teams, as Keisse had to continue solo. Hansen could not bounce back in the second half of the contest, and the Danish pair went down by four laps. 

With 35 laps to go, De Ketele and Ghys had secured the overall, and the Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise teammates won with a total of 376 points. Kluge and De Buyst settled for second place, 69 points back, while the Danish riders had 368 points and were six laps back.

It was a perfect ending to a cycling career for De Ketele, who at 36 will retire at the end of the year. He has been a winner at Ghent Six five times. It was a second title for Ghys. 

"Speechless! The best possible result in the best possible condition with the best possible teammate during the best possible event," stated De Ketele on his Instagram feed.

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