Ahead of next week’s 78th Lotto Six Days of Flanders-Ghent the organisers revealed the star-studded line-up for the legendary event. The international elite in both men’s and women’s track cycling are heading to Ghent, along with a selection of renowned artists. On Tuesday a special guest will signal the start. Tickets are selling out fast with few seats still available.
Kenny De Ketele will defend his title alongside Robbe Ghys. The European madison champions will face world champions Roger Kluge and Theo Reinhardt. Iljo Keisse is forming a duo with team-mate Elia Viviani, the Olympic omnium champion. Moreno De Pauw, who took last year’s win with De Ketele, is teaming up with youngster Lindsay De Vylder. Dutch duo Yoeri Havik and Wim Stroetinga will take on the challenge, along with the following couples: Jonas Rickaert/Stijn Steels, Marc Hester/Gerben Thyssen, Nick Stöpler/Fabio Van Den Bossche, Otto Vergaerde/Jules Hester, Jesper Morkov/Roy Pieters and Francesco Lamon/Michele Scartezinni.
Two-time winner Jasper De Buyst is one of the crowd favourites. He will try to get his third win in Ghent in the company of Lotto Soudal partner Tosh Van der Sande. De Buyst’s last appearance at Het Kuipke was three years ago. Six years passed since Van der Sande’s last Six Days of Ghent. Still De Buyst thinks an overall win is possible. “We have been training hard for a while to get that rack feeling back,” the Belgian said. “But don’t forget we both had our education on the track. Track cycling is like skiing, you don’t lose it overnight. When we started training again together for the first time in a while, it took us ten minutes to get the right feeling again. We are definitely starting to win.”
The women’s peloton is pressed into action on Friday and Saturday night. Friday’s points race is following by Saturday’s omnium. With Kirsten Wild the best female track rider – possibly ever – will be at the start. The Dutch star is the current world champion in the omnium, the points race and the scratch. Jolien D’Hoore and Lotte Kopecky ? the Belgische leading ladies on the track ? know who they have to keep an eye on. Other participants are Annelies Dom, Shari Bossuyt, Gilke Croket, Marit Raaimakers, Kristie van Haaften, Valentine Fortin, Amy Cure and Anita Stenberg.
U23, RECORD HUNT AND DISABLED SPORTS
Every day the main programme of the Lotto Six Days of Flanders-Ghent is preceded by the AVS Cup, a top-level competition for runners under 23 years of age. The strongest Belgian talents are taking on a selection of talented riders from all over Europe. On Sunday Ayrton De Pauw are Nicky Degrendele going on a record hunt. De Pauw is looking to beat the existing record on the 500m with a standing start. Degrendele, the keirin world champion, is attacking the women’s track record. On Wednesday Belgium’s best disabled athletes will show their skills on the track.
SIX DAYS OF MUSIC
The Lotto Six Days of Flanders-Ghent are a spectacle both on and off the track. At the 78th edition several well-known artists will be entertaining the fans with Gunther Neefs, Laura Lynn, Coco Jr and Garry Hagger. Do you want to be there as well? Then get your tickets before it’s too late. Just a handful of infield tickets are still available for Sunday. On Wednesday VIP tickets are still available.