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Van Avermaet to fire starting shot for Gent Six Day

Olympic champion Greg Van Avermaet will fire the pistol to begin the 76th edition of the Gent Six Day in 't Kuipke velodrome in Belgium on Tuesday.

Top of the start list are Madison World Champions Mark Cavendish and Bradley Wiggins, who will wear the number 1 dossards for the week.

The Britons were ousted from the race lead in last month's Six Day in London by Moreno De Pauw and Kenny De Ketele in a dramatic turn in the event's final Madison. Down a lap on Cavendish and Wiggins but up on points, the Belgians conserved their efforts until the final 10 laps and then pounced, taking out the victory with a stolen lap to win the overall by 11 points.

While Cavendish and Wiggins will be out for revenge come Tuesday, they will have a stacked field against them. Hometown star Iljo Keisse is paired with Olympic Omnium champion Elia Viviani as team number 2.

De Pauw and De Ketele, the latter coming fresh off a World Cup victory in the Madison in Apeldoorn, will be team number 3. De Ketele has two Gent Six Day victories to his name and is in fine form.

Australians Cameron Meyer and Callum Scotson who were third in London will wear the number four. Team 5 is the experienced driver Marc Hester with Jesper Morkov, while Apeldoorn Madison bronze medallists Mark Stewart and Ollie Wood are team 6.

Robbe Ghys, who won the Madison in Apeldoorn with De Ketele, is paired with German Christian Grassmann as team 7, Otto Vergaerde and Frenchman Morgan Kneisky make up team 8, and Jonas Rickaert with Dutchman Roy Pieters are team 9.

Foreign teams make up the remainder of the field, with Swiss rider Trisan Marguet and Dutchman Nick Stöpler as team 10, Yoeri Havik and Alex Rasmussen team 11, and former Gent Six Day winner Leif Lampater and Belgian Lindsay De Vylder team 12.

Van Avermaet will fire the gun to start the racing at 20:25 CET on Tuesday.

On the penultimate night, there will be a ceremony to honour Olympic bronze medalist Jolien D'hoore. The women's racing that evening will include a women's Madison, new to the UCI World Championships programme.

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