Iljo Keisse will ride his last Lotto Zesdaagse Vlaanderen-Gent alongside Jasper De Buyst from 15 to 20 November. A total of 12 Belgians will be at the start in ‘t Kuipke, which has been dressed up appropriately to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Ghent Six Days. Sir Bradley Wiggins will sound the starting shot on Tuesday 15 November.
In 2002, Iljo Keisse rode his first Lotto Zesdaagse Vlaanderen-Gent. Next week, the 39-year-old from Ghent starts his 18th and last Ghent Six Days. Keisse has won the event seven times, most recently in 2018. This year, Keisse will have Jasper De Buyst as a companion. The 28-year-old rider from Flemish Brabant won the Lotto Zesdaagse Vlaanderen-Gent in 2013 and 2014, so he knows the ropes of ‘t Kuipke.
Besides Keisse/De Buyst, there are another two all-Belgian duos. Robbe Ghys, who won the past two editions alongside Kenny De Ketele who bid farewell last year, forms a duo with Lindsay De Vylder. Gianluca Pollefliet and Noah Van Den Branden were very impressive last year winning the AVS Cup for U23s and will now try their luck with the big boys.
Fabio Van den Bossche will ride the Lotto Zesdaagse Vlaanderen-Gent with Dutchman Yoeri Havik, the World Champion in the points race. Van den Bossche took bronze in both the points race and team race at the World Championships. Another Belgian-Dutch collaboration is that between Tuur Dens and Jan-Willem van Schip. Gerben Thijsen/Julius Johansen and Brent Van Mulders/Matias Malmberg are also bringing us two Belgian-Danish duos next week. Stijn Steels will ride with Swiss rider Silvan Dillier and Jules Hesters will go in search of glory alongside German rider Tim Torn Teutenberg.
Finally, there are three ‘national’ pairs: Dutchmen Vincent Hoppezak and Philip Heijnen, but also and especially Germans Roger Kluge and Theo Reinhardt and Brits Ethan Hayter and Fred Wright. Kluge and Reinhardt are the reigning European Team Race Champions, Hayter is World Champion in the omnium and captured gold with Team Great Britain in the team pursuit at the last World Championships in France.