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Gent Six Day to hold one-hour 'Memorial Sercu' during 2019 edition

Mark Cavendish and Iljo Keisse in 2014
Mark Cavendish and Iljo Keisse in 2014 (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

The organisers of the Gent Six Day announced they would hold a special event during this year's race to honour the memory of 11-time champion Patrick Sercu. The "Memorial Sercu" will add another hour-long Madison to the programme. The typical grand finale was a speciality of Sercu's, who died in April at the age of 74. 

The race also announced that the city has extended its agreement with the race for a further six years.

The Madison events during a Six Day are typically 45 minutes or less and riders compete in two 'chases' per night along with other events such as the derny race, points race and elimination race. On the final day there is usually one 60-minute Madison that decides the overall winner.

The Memorial Sercu will take place on day 4 (November 15), with a second hour-long Madison on day 6.

The 79th edition of the race, known in Belgium as the Lotto Zesdaagse Vlaanderen-Gent, runs from November 12-17 and will see former teammates Mark Cavendish and Iljo Keisse reunited as team number 2. Keisse, a Gent native, is looking for his eighth title in the race.

Cavendish and Keisse won the race together in 2014, while the Manxman reprised his winning role with Bradley Wiggins in 2016.

The festivities will also include a record attempt by Victor Campenaerts, who will try to better the track's 5km mark of (0:6:13.56) set by Dirk Baert in 1981.

The pairings will feature another Gent native, Kenny De Ketele who will pair up with Robbe Ghys. The former European champions will be joined by current world champions Roger Kluge and Theo Reinhardt, who will wear bib number 1 and Lotto-Soudal's Jasper De Buyst and Tosh Van der Sande.

Moreno De Pauwe will compete in the final race of his career before retiring after the Gent Six Day. He's paird with Gerben Thijssen. Dutchmen Yoeri Havik and Jan-Willem van Schip - fresh off a Madison win in the UCI Track World Cup in Minsk will also take part.

The rest of the field include: Wim Stroetinga / Lindsay De Vylder, Otto Vergaerde / Jules Hesters, Fabio Van Den Bossche / Marc Hester, and Roy Pieters / Jonas RickaertÍ