After a big fight and an intense week, the Team LIDL duo saw their efforts rewarded with a well-deserved podium.
On the last day of the Gent Six Day, Iljo Keisse and Elia Viviani began with a victory in the second points race, followed shortly by a success in the team elimination, which helped Iljo and Elia get a one-lap bonus and leapfrog their opponents, thus jumping to first place in the general classification. The battle for glory turned more intense by the minute, and it became obvious that the overall victory was going down to the wire, but the huge pressure didn't stop the Belgian-Italian duo from nabbing the supersprint and the second derny of the afternoon, thus adding two more wins to their haul.
The frantic Madison race, the competition's final race, saw the first three teams in the GC go neck and neck until the last 50 laps, when the intermediate sprints came into play, and Team LIDL won three of them. Then, in the closing minutes, the Bradley Wiggins/Mark Cavendish duo attacked and gained a lap thanks to which they claimed the overall honours in 't Kuipe, at the 76th edition of the competition.
At the end of the day, Iljo Keisse and Elia Viviani finished third in the GC, which witnessed tight margins between the first three teams, a result that shows the cohesion and firepower of the two despite this being the first track event for which they paired up. For Iljo, who has 14 participations and six triumphs at the Gent Six Day, this was the 5th time he concluded on the podium, a feat that cements his status as one of the all-time greats in the history of the race.
1. Bradley Wiggins/Mark Cavendish – 410 points
2, Kenny De Ketele/Moreno de Pauw – 475 points (+ 1 lap)
3. Iljo Keisse/Elia Viviani – 468 points (+ 1 lap)
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele