Lee Valley VeloPark velodromeBelgian duo Kenny de Ketele and Moreno de Pauw finished day three of the London Six Day on top of the overall standings despite a late charge from Madison world champions Mark Cavendish and Bradley Wiggins. The winners of last year's race take a lead of 41 points into the fourth day of racing over the British challengers with Australian's Cameron Meyer and Callum Scotson in third place.
De Ketele and de Pauw, who both ride for Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise, had been consistent over the two opening days but weren't winning as many events as the likes of Cavendish and Wiggins. In the Derny, de Ketele got the better of Wiggins to take the win and extend his and de Pauw's lead at the top.
"We have a nice gap now, on points, but every single event delivers so many points that one mistake in the elimination, and the other team wins it, then bang, you're 30 points behind," said de Ketele. "The lead can go really quickly so we need to stay focussed, keep gaining points, keep it up the front and don't make any mistakes."
With the experienced duo of Cavendish and Wiggins snapping at their heels and likely to keep the pressure on until the final event on day 6, de Pauw explained that being top is the best possible position.
"We're tired, but good, leading is always the best thing you can do, but still three days to go," said de Pauw. "We keep repeating it but that's the way it is, you can lose one lap fast so you have to stay focussed, stay concentrated and take it day by day."
Meyer and Scotson, ten points behind Cavendish and Wiggins, are riding their first six day together but the duo do have experience on the track together having ridden the madison at the 2016 Track Worlds. For Scotson, who was part of Australia's team pursuit squad at the Rio Olympics which won silver, the intensity is starting to take its toll.
"The legs are starting to get used to the racing. I’m getting a little bit tired but the next three nights will be the real hard times," said Scotson. "It was close, we were really trying to get the lap in the Madison chase. Then with 15 laps go we realised that wasn't possible, so we were trying to hang on to the end."
The Six Day London continues in the Lee Valley VeloPark velodrome Friday night with the remaining three nights of racing sold-out.