The full programme for the 79th edition of the Lotto Six Days of Flanders-Ghent (12 to 17 November) is known. Spectators are guaranteed to get a spectacle on and next to the track during the traditional autumn cycling fest!
Of course you cannot have the Six Days without Kenny De Ketele. The proud man from Ghent is looking for his 4th victory in his hometown, a number that will put him on an equal footing with none other than Eddy Merckx. De Ketele is in a duo with the young top talent Robbe Ghys. De Ketele and Ghys have been European Champions team cycling once before and in Ghent they will be on the home straight for the Olympic Games. Moreno De Pauw will bid farewell to his professional career paired with Gerben Thijssen. In the Dutch corner, all eyes will mainly be on the strong duo Yoeri Havik and Jan-Willem van Schip. Van Schip is the reigning World Champion in the points race having won silver in both the points race and Madison at the recent European Championship in Apeldoorn. The other duos are: Wim Stroetinga/Lindsay De Vylder, Otto Vergaerde/Jules Hesters, Fabio Van Den Bossche/Marc Hester, Roy Pieters/Jonas Rickaert, Michele Scartezzini/Francesco Lamon and Morgan Kneisky/Oliver Wulff Frederiksen.
It had already been announced that Jasper De Buyst and Tosh Van der Sande are forming the Captains of Cycling Team, that World Champions Team cycling Roger Kluge and Theo Reinhardt will be in attendance and that Iljo Keisse will be fighting for his 8th final victory with Mark Cavendish by his side in the Kuipke.
There was some exceptionally good news at the traditional press conference one week before the starting shot of the Lotto Six Days Flanders-Ghent. “The Six Days, Ghent and ‘t Kuipke are undeniably interlinked and that Ghent heritage must be cherished”, according to the Ghent councillor for sports Sofie Bracke. “Therefore, it was important to conclude a new agreement with the organisers for the next six years. So, Ghent will continue to be the beating heart of international track cycling.”
Memorial Patrick Sercu
On 19th April, we sadly had to bid farewell to Patrick Sercu far too early. Patrick is an icon of Belgian cycling and of the Ghent Six Days in particular. With his eleven victories, he is undisputed record holder in ‘t Kuipke and he was race manager there for years. As homage to Patrick, the Madison on Friday will become the ‘Memorial Patrick Sercu’. It is no coincidence that it is the most important part of the Six Days and the race he excelled in innumerable times as an active racer. On Friday night, it will raise the roof off ‘his’ Kuipke for Patrick.
Ladies conquer ‘t Kuipke
For years, the Lotto Six Days Flanders-Ghent has been championing women’s cycling and of course 2019 will not be any different. On Friday night, a strong group of participants, headed by the leading lady of track racing Kirsten Wild and the strong Belgian women Jolien D’hoore and Lotte Kopecky, will complete the JDK Points race in 120 rounds. Saturday’s programme features the Belisol Ladies Trophy, a spectacular omnium race that Kirsten Wild won last year.
U23 and G-athletes
Every day, the AVS cup, the top competition for under-23 riders precedes the main programme – the Lotto Six Days Flanders-Ghent. The strongest Belgian youngsters will take on a selection of promising riders from all over Europe. On Wednesday, the best Belgian G-athletes can show off their skills on the Kuipke track for the fifth year in a row. The programme contains a total of four races for paralympians.
Flowers for Campenaerts and De Pauw
On Sunday, we will know the winners of the Ghent Six Days, but that is not all. Victor Campenaerts will be honoured with aplomb for his successful attempt at beating the world hour record. ‘Vocsnor’ demolished Bradley Wiggins’ record in the Mexican Aguascalientes on 16th April. Campenaerts rode no less than 55.089 km in 1 hour. You will be able to admire Campenaerts on the track! Campenaerts will attack the Ghent 5000m-track record of Dirk Baert (6.13.56 in 1981) in the swirling Kuipke. Moreno De Pauw will also get a standing ovation as one can only get in ’t Kuipke. De Pauw, winner of the Lotto Six Days Flanders-Ghent in 2017, will bid farewell to professional cycling after the Six Days.
The Lotto Six Days Flanders-Ghent is a cycling party on and next to the track, the perfect mix between top-level sport and entertainment. As the tradition dictates, the best artists will let ‘t Kuipke shake. On Wednesday, stage animal Coco Jr. will get everybody dancing, on Thursday, the queen of Schlager music Laura Lynn will make all the clouds disappear, Friday it is Silvy De Bie’s turn and on Saturday, Garry Hagger will create some magical moments.