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69th Ghent Six Day Finale – Report, Photos

by Steve Penny

November 29, 2009 (Ghent, Belgium) – The final session of the Ghent Six is held during the afternoon so all concerned are back at the track just 10 hours after last nights programme finished. For the riders of course this is an especially gruelling schedule. The eventual outcome of the 69th Six Days of Flanders, Ghent (to give its full title) is far from clear which will be pleasing to the organization who’d put together what they considered there best field in years.

The World Madison Champions Morkov and Rasmussen have stayed at or close to the front all week. They did so in Munich too but where beaten in the ‘finale’ by Risi-Marvulli. Other big names have come here on big contracts and really struggled in this most demanding of Sixes but the Danes have justified there place amongst the favourites and no doubt the higher earners.

Before the racing today I asked Michael Morkov how they’d found the track and how it was going generally:

“It’s going well. We have both ridden here once each as amateurs, me 6 years ago and Alex 5 years ago. The only thing is that we have found it more difficult than usual in the Time Trials. Normally on a 200 or 250 metre track we can win them all but here the track requires a lot more technique and you can’t go at them with speed alone. We’re really pleased with our performances in the Madison though, we’ve always managed to stay close to the front and most of the time we’ve been able to take laps quite easily”

And what of winning here and the rest of the Six Day season?

“The Swiss guys are really strong so it won’t be easy but we think that we can get enough points before the ‘finale’ to get another bonus lap and be equal with them for the last chase. Whatever happens we’ll have given 100% to try and be the winners.

“We have contracts for Rotterdam, Berlin and Copenhagen so will be doing our best to win those Sixes too!!!”

In attendance analyzing for local TV was former favourite of ‘Het Kuipke’ crowd Constant Tourne. ‘Stan’ as he was known won here twice with Etienne De Wilde during a long and distinguished career as a track and Six Day specialist. I asked him what he thought might happen today:

“Of course there are three very good teams, all of them showing they are strong. The Danes are good although with Rasmussen being a bit heavier than the usual Six Day guys he has a bit more difficulty on this very technical track.

Keisse is very strong and has the perfect style and qualities for this track and his partner Kluge is going well too. The Danes and Keisse will try and get a bonus lap before the final and then wait for the sprints in the last 50 laps.

Risi-Marvulli of course are looking good in first place for now but if the others get that bonus lap will have to go on the attack. Risi of course knows how to be tactical but I am not sure about Marvulli on this track. He is strong but I watched him yesterday and he does not always position himself correctly on this tight track and this could cause a problem. But it will be like a game of poker for them all, do they go on the attack or wait for the points?

Anyone of these 3 teams could still win even Stam-Lampater are still close and could try and go for the lap to win but I’ve watched Lampater and he does not look to be so strong, Stam is good though.”

I also asked Stan about Kenny De Ketele:

“He is a determined rider and his style on the bike is to pedalwith a very high cadence which the crowds see and they like that. If he can race with a really fast guy, such as Keisse, then yes he can win here one day.”

Sunday’s Racing

The Danes did as Morkov suggested and went after points in the programmes ‘Point’s Race’ pushing them within 37 points of that all important bonus lap. The team elimination gives 20 points for first place and the battle for the points was on here. As noted Morkov-Rasmussen need them as do Keisse-Kluge and these couples battled it out for the prize with Rasmussen getting the better of Kluge. Both teams are closing in.

In a switch from the usual evening programme the time trial order is swapped and the riders do the 500 metres first. That being the other event that offers 20 points to the winner and once again we had showdown between the top 3 teams. Although times were down on yesterday Keisse-Kluge won in 27.79 (64,772 kmph) from Risi-Marvulli 28.10 (64,057 kmph) and the Danes 28.31 (63,582).

The Derny races give one last chance at crowd to the riders and pacers alike. One man who takes this role literally is the favourite pacer of the Ghent crowd the rotund Joop Zijlaard. He earned his stripes here pacing the local legend Etienne De Wilde on many an occasion. Today he took fellow Dutchman Danny Stam to victory in the first race. The second had the Belgians Keisse and De Ketele lapping the field before Michel Vaarten brought De Ketele around Zijlaard-Keisse in the last metres. As I said before the Dernys have an air of show business to them but it is no easy feat racing side by side at 60 kmph on this tight track.

Keisse-Kluge now have their bonus lap.

The individual elimination race was low key and the battle for points eased as the main teams went out early. Winning this one was by 20 year old Aussie World Omnium Champion Leigh Howard. He has had a tough Six with an injury but clearly has bags of talent.

The final flying lap time trial was another close run thing with Marvulli 8.71 (68,886 kmph) besting Rasmussen 8.76 (68,493 kmph) and Kluge 8.77 (68,415 kmph).

Rasmussen-Morkov also had there bonus lap. There was a break in racing when Bruno Risi said his farewell to the Ghent public after 19 rides here. His wife and parents joined him for an emotional farewell where he said: “The people have always been good to me here and you are the most sport friendly public of all the Six days. I will miss Ghent al lot. Thank you”.

Without doubt he’d love to say goodbye with a 4th win here.

The ‘Finale’

Leading standings at the start of Sundays ‘Finale’:

Keisse – Kluge 415 points
Rasmussen – Morkov 410
Risi – Marvulli 392
Stam – Lampater 244

@ 2 Laps
De Ketele – Schep 229

The ‘finale’ of this 69th Ghent Six was as exciting as one would expect when the standings are so close. For a long time it was very much like a prize fight with the big guys going blow for blow or lap for lap as the case may be. But like many prize fights this one was eventually settled on points but without any controversy. In his last Ghent Six Bruno Risi did try for a fairytale ending but it wasn’t to be. His and Marvullis do or die attack came just after the 2nd sprint. Morkov had taken the first sprint and Keisse the second. They tried for 10 laps even taking the third sprint but never got more than half a lap and they were caught soon after that third sprint.

The Danish pair of Rasmussen-Morkov showed they could stay the course and Morkov took the fourth sprint to set up a grandstand finish between Iljo Keisse and Alex Rasmussen in a win or bust final sprint. Of course Keisse had the crowd roaring him on and as Kluge attacked with 4 laps to go they seemed in poll position. Michael Morkov closed some of the gap but not all and threw in Rasmussen with a bit still to do. He made it onto the wheel of Keisse and sat there until the last lap when Keisse started an almighty sprint. It was shoulder to shoulder down the home straight but Rasmussen just had enough speed left to haul himself across the line a wheel clear of Keisse.

Either of the teams would have been fine victors but perhaps Morkov-Rasmussen, after the disappointment of Munich, just about deserved this one adapting well on Keisse’s home track.

The home fans were not despondent though and many continued to sing for Keisse whilst the hall emptied out.

Final standings for the 69th Ghent Six:

Rasmussen – Morkov 450 points
Keisse – Kluge 447
Risi – Marvulli 408
Stam – Lampater 254

@ 1 lap
De Ketele – Schep 235

@ 17 laps
Van Bon – Muller 159

@ 19 laps
O’Shea – Howard 200

@ 20 laps
Aeschbach – Marguet 183

@ 38 Laps
Jonkman – Hester 114

@ 44 Laps
Depoortere – Cocquyt 86

@ 48 Laps
De Neef – Schets 133

Abandoned:
Bartko and Vermeulen

What they said:

Alex Rasmussen (winner with Morkov):

I asked him about that last few laps and the noise of the crowd?

“Yeah I was thinking it’s a big gap to close but luckily for us I still had good legs at the end. Also coming from behind it’s a bit easier!!! The noise was was loud but you don’t feel like your not on home ground you just hear the noise and it doesn’t matter if you’re Iljo or somebody else you just know that the crowd is in the race. In this Six we saved some energy for the final sprints that was our plan and not wasting too much of that energy chasing down everybody else”

Roger Kluge (2nd with Iljo Keisse)

“It has been a nice experience here the public have been fantastic and I enjoyed it……and 2nd is not too bad!!! I was actually here before with the amateurs in 2006 but the Galvez accident meant of course it didn’t finish. I have contracts for 3 more Six Days and will be in Berlin for my last Six this season. In future I will race the road more but will stay on the track too”

Franco Marvulli (3rd with Risi)

“What a ‘finale’ eh?…………….just not for us!!!

If we could have made the 400 points before the ‘finale’ it would have been different. Our problem was also that the others chased us down but not them (Morkov-Rasmussen, Keisse-Kluge) and if that happens then it’s always going to be hard”

Kenny De Ketele (5th with Schep)

He had great legs all week so I asked him was he frustrated not to be able to challenge for the overall win?

“Well it was just circumstances and as a professional athlete you have to learn to react to such things. Ok it’s not great because you are in front of your home crowd but I am still happy I could show my strength to the Belgian public and in the end with Schep it went ok”

And of his growing popularity with the Ghent crowd?

“I think that one year when the organisers make a team with De Ketele-Keisse there going to build a new roof!!!”

You couldn’t describe it better, until 2010

Results

Points Race
1. Alexander Aeschbach / Tristan Marguet (Swi) Geka Kaas 11 pts
2. Alex Rasmussen / Michael Morkov (Den) Callant Verzekeringen – Wire-less 10
3. Iljo Keisse (Bel) / Roger Kluge (Ger) Mega Deschacht – John Saey 8
4. Bruno Risi / Franco Marvulli (Swi) Knokse Bandencentrale – Eurotyre 8
5. Geert-Jan Jonkman (Ned) / Marc Hester (Den) AVS 7
6. Kenny De Ketele (Bel) / Peter Schep (Ned) Mercator Verzekeringen 6
7. Leon Van Bon (Ned) / Andreas Müller (Ger) Caruur 4
8. Danny Stam (Ned) / Leif Lampater (Ger) Ploeg AA Drink 4
9. Steven Deneef / Steve Schets (Bel) JDK 3
10. Glenn O’Shea / Leigh Howard (Aus) VDK Spaarbank 3
11. Ingmar Depoortere / Nicky Cocquyt (Bel) Provincie Oost-Vlaanderen 2

Team elimination
1. Alex Rasmussen / Michael Morkov (Den) Callant Verzekeringen – Wire-less 20 pts
2. Iljo Keisse (Bel) / Roger Kluge (Ger) Mega Deschacht – John Saey 12
3. Kenny De Ketele (Bel) / Peter Schep (Ned) Mercator Verzekeringen 10
4. Bruno Risi / Franco Marvulli (Swi) Knokse Bandencentrale – Eurotyre 8
5. Leon Van Bon (Ned) / Andreas Müller (Ger) Caruur 6
6. Steven Deneef / Steve Schets (Bel) JDK 4
7. Danny Stam (Ned) / Leif Lampater (Ger) Ploeg AA Drink
8. Glenn O’Shea / Leigh Howard (Aus) VDK Spaarbank
9. Ingmar Depoortere / Nicky Cocquyt (Bel) Provincie Oost-Vlaanderen
10. Geert-Jan Jonkman (Ned) / Marc Hester (Den) AVS
11. Alexander Aeschbach / Tristan Marguet (Swi) Geka Kaas

500m time trial
1. Iljo Keisse (Bel) / Roger Kluge (Ger) Mega Deschacht – John Saey 20 pts
2. Bruno Risi / Franco Marvulli (Swi) Knokse Bandencentrale – Eurotyre 12
3. Alex Rasmussen / Michael Morkov (Den) Callant Verzekeringen – Wire-less 10
4. Kenny De Ketele (Bel) / Peter Schep (Ned) Mercator Verzekeringen 8
5. Alexander Aeschbach / Tristan Marguet (Swi) Geka Kaas 6
6. Glenn O’Shea / Leigh Howard (Aus) VDK Spaarbank 4
7. Ingmar Depoortere / Nicky Cocquyt (Bel) Provincie Oost-Vlaanderen
8. Geert-Jan Jonkman (Ned) / Marc Hester (Den) AVS
9. Steven Deneef / Steve Schets (Bel) JDK
10. Danny Stam (Ned) / Leif Lampater (Ger) Ploeg AA Drink
11. Leon Van Bon (Ned) / Andreas Müller (Ger) Caruur

Derny 1
1. Danny Stam (Ned) Ploeg AA Drink 5 pts
2. Steven Deneef (Bel) JDK 4
3. Nicky Cocquyt (Bel) Provincie Oost-Vlaanderen 3
4. Marc Hester (Den) AVS 2
5. Alexander Aeschbach (Swi) Geka Kaas 1

Elimination
1. Leigh Howard (Aus) VDK Spaarbank 10 pts
2. Steve Schets (Bel) JDK 6
3. Leon Van Bon (Ned) Caruur 5
4. Peter Schep (Ned) Mercator Verzekeringen 4
5. Ingmar Depoortere (Bel) Provincie Oost-Vlaanderen 3
6. Tristan Marguet (Swi) Geka Kaas 2
7. Geert-Jan Jonkman (Ned) AVS
8. Franco Marvulli (Swi) Knokse Bandencentrale – Eurotyre
9. Leif Lampater (Ger) Ploeg AA Drink
10. Roger Kluge (Ger) Mega Deschacht – John Saey
11. Alex Rasmussen (Den) Callant Verzekeringen – Wire-less

Derny 2
1. Kenny De Ketele (Bel) Mercator Verzekeringen 5 pts
2. Iljo Keisse (Bel) Mega Deschacht – John Saey 4
3. Michael Morkov (Den) Callant Verzekeringen – Wire-less 3
4. Bruno Risi (Swi) Knokse Bandencentrale – Eurotyre 2
5. Glenn O’Shea (Aus) VDK Spaarbank 1
6. Andreas Müller (Ger) Caruur

Sprint standings
1. Bruno Risi / Franco Marvulli (Swi) Knokse Bandencentrale – Eurotyre 15 pts
2. Iljo Keisse (Bel) / Roger Kluge (Ger) Mega Deschacht – John Saey 9
3. Alex Rasmussen / Michael Morkov (Den) Callant Verzekeringen – Wire-less 8
4. Alexander Aeschbach / Tristan Marguet (Swi) Geka Kaas 7
5. Glenn O’Shea / Leigh Howard (Aus) VDK Spaarbank 7
6. Leon Van Bon (Ned) / Andreas Müller (Ger) Caruur 5
7. Ingmar Depoortere / Nicky Cocquyt (Bel) Provincie Oost-Vlaanderen 5
8. Kenny De Ketele (Bel) / Peter Schep (Ned) Mercator Verzekeringen 5
9. Geert-Jan Jonkman (Ned) / Marc Hester (Den) AVS 2
10. Danny Stam (Ned) / Leif Lampater (Ger) Ploeg AA Drink 2
11. Steven Deneef / Steve Schets (Bel) JDK 1

One lap time trial
1. Bruno Risi / Franco Marvulli (Swi) Knokse Bandencentrale – Eurotyre 10 pts
2. Alex Rasmussen / Michael Morkov (Den) Callant Verzekeringen – Wire-less 6
3. Iljo Keisse (Bel) / Roger Kluge (Ger) Mega Deschacht – John Saey 5
4. Alexander Aeschbach / Tristan Marguet (Swi) Geka Kaas 4
5. Kenny De Ketele (Bel) / Peter Schep (Ned) Mercator Verzekeringen 3
6. Steven Deneef / Steve Schets (Bel) JDK 2
7. Leon Van Bon (Ned) / Andreas Müller (Ger) Caruur
8. Ingmar Depoortere / Nicky Cocquyt (Bel) Provincie Oost-Vlaanderen
9. Danny Stam (Ned) / Leif Lampater (Ger) Ploeg AA Drink
10. Glenn O’Shea / Leigh Howard (Aus) VDK Spaarbank
11. Geert-Jan Jonkman (Ned) / Marc Hester (Den) AVS

Scratch Race
1. Tristan Marguet (Swi) Geka Kaas 10 pts
2. Steve Schets (Bel) JDK 6
3. Ingmar Depoortere (Bel) Provincie Oost-Vlaanderen 5
4. Geert-Jan Jonkman (Ned) AVS 4
5. Franco Marvulli (Swi) Knokse Bandencentrale – Eurotyre 3
6. Peter Schep (Ned) Mercator Verzekeringen 2
7. Leon Van Bon (Ned) Caruur
8. Leigh Howard (Aus) VDK Spaarbank
9. Leif Lampater (Ger) Ploeg AA Drink
10. Roger Kluge (Ger) Mega Deschacht – John Saey
11. Alex Rasmussen (Den) Callant Verzekeringen – Wire-less

Madison
1. Kenny De Ketele (Bel) / Peter Schep (Ned) Mercator Verzekeringen 6 pts
2. Alex Rasmussen / Michael Morkov (Den) Callant Verzekeringen – Wire-less 40 (-1 lap)
3. Iljo Keisse (Bel) / Roger Kluge (Ger) Mega Deschacht – John Saey 32
4. Bruno Risi / Franco Marvulli (Swi) Knokse Bandencentrale – Eurotyre 16
5. Danny Stam (Ned) / Leif Lampater (Ger) Ploeg AA Drink 10
6. Leon Van Bon (Ned) / Andreas Müller (Ger) Caruur 4 (-3 laps)
7. Steven Deneef / Steve Schets (Bel) JDK 1 (-4 laps)
8. Glenn O’Shea / Leigh Howard (Aus) VDK Spaarbank
9. Alexander Aeschbach / Tristan Marguet (Swi) Geka Kaas 2 pts (-5 laps)
10. Ingmar Depoortere / Nicky Cocquyt (Bel) Provincie Oost-Vlaanderen
11. Geert-Jan Jonkman (Ned) / Marc Hester (Den) AVS ( -7 laps)

Overall Points
1. Alex Rasmussen / Michael Morkov (Den) Callant Verzekeringen – Wire-less 450 pts
2. Iljo Keisse (Bel) / Roger Kluge (Ger) Mega Deschacht – John Saey 447
3. Bruno Risi / Franco Marvulli (Swi) Knokse Bandencentrale – Eurotyre 408
4. Danny Stam (Ned) / Leif Lampater (Ger) Ploeg AA Drink 254
5. Kenny De Ketele (Bel) / Peter Schep (Ned) Mercator Verzekeringen 235 (-1 lap)
6. Leon Van Bon (Ned) / Andreas Müller (Ger) Caruur 159 (-17 lap)
7. Glenn O’Shea / Leigh Howard (Aus) VDK Spaarbank 200 (-19 lap)
8. Alexander Aeschbach / Tristan Marguet (Swi) Geka Kaas 183 (-20 lap)
9. Geert-Jan Jonkman (Ned) / Marc Hester (Den) AVS 114 (-38 lap)
10. Ingmar Depoortere / Nicky Cocquyt (Bel) Provincie Oost-Vlaanderen 86 (-44 lap)
11. Steven Deneef / Steve Schets (Bel) JDK 133 (-48 lap)



































































































































































































































































































































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