Elia Viviani and local hero Iljo Keisse won the Gent Six Day on Sunday after taking the final sprint in the final Madison of the day. Keisse set a new record by winning the Gent Six seven times in the 't Kuipke velodrome.
"Gent is the most beautiful six-day race in the world," Keisse said after the finish. "Ask every rider and you’ll get the same response: they all love the public and the incredible atmosphere. It’s been three years since my previous win, and I was super motivated to get the job done together with the amazing rider that Elia is. We gave everything day after day and to be rewarded with the trophy, and the fans’ applause and cheers makes us very happy and proud."
Keisse and Viviani beat Baloise Insurance team of Robbe Ghys and Kenny de Ketele. They were behind on points going into the final Madison and Ghys made a late attack to try to take a lap or stay away. However, Viviani hunted him down and then Keisse sprinted to take maximum points in the finale.
Keisse and Viviani scored a total of 382 points during the six days of racing, with Ghys and De Ketele second with 374 points. Lotto pair Jasper De Buyst and Tosh Van der Sande were third with 348 points. Roger Kluge and Theo Reinhardt, riding for Callant, finished off the podium in fourth place with 233 points at one lap.
The Gent velodrome was packed with cycling fans, with the beer flowing freely. The crowd was on its feet and singing Keisse's name after the Quick-Step Floors duo secured overall victory.
Keisse emotionally thanked the Gent fans and Viviani on the podium, sparking more cheers of "Iljo! Iljo! Iljo!"
Viviani thanked him for the opportunity to win in Gent for the first time in his career, and the first time in 18 years that an Italian has won.
"I promised to come here on good form and win with him," the Italian said. "After an amazing season on the road this is a victory I won't forget for a long time.
"I've been in love with this superb race and the fantastic atmosphere ever since my first participation a few years ago. This victory, which I'm glad I could claim together with such a six-day racing legend as Iljo, comes after an amazing season for me and it's something I will always remember."
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