Video: Iljo Keisse speaks of new beginning in post-victory press conference
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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Video: Iljo Keisse speaks of new beginning in post-victory press conference

by Shane Stokes at 5:03 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Interviews, Video, Presidential Tour of Turkey
Belgian says he’s committed to both road and track, ready to ride a Grand Tour

Iljo KeisseIljo Keisse has described his Presidential Tour of Turkey stage victory yesterday, the first big road race win of his career, as being a major turning point for him. The Belgian has faced many stressful times in recent years but, beaming with satisfaction at the triumph, he believes the tough period is now behind him.

“This one is very special,” he smiled. “I’ve been through quite hard times and all kinds of circumstances.

“I was very close not to get a contract last year from this team. They gave me the trust to sign me for another year and I am very happy to give them this victory.

“What does this mean to me? I think it’s the end of a very bad part of my life…let’s say it like that.”

Keisse has had a long drawn-out battle with the UCI over a positive test for cathine and hydrochlorothiazide (HCT) in the Gent Six day in 2008. It was a complicated case and several rulings were made by various courts, some [including CAS] in support of the UCI and some in his favour.

He’s also had to get over the deaths of three riders he knew well, namely Wouter Weylandt, Dimitri de Fauw and Frederik Nolf.

Looking at him yesterday, though, it was clear that a weight had lifted, that the clouds had cleared.

The Belgian rider was part of the stage-long breakaway which went clear almost immediately after the start in Kusadasi, then jumped clear of his group with five kilometres remaining. He opened a decent lead but what would have been a comfortable triumph ended up being a more stressful one when he fell off on a bend in the final kilometre, was further delayed by a dropped chain, and just hit the line metres ahead of a fast-closing peloton led in by Marcel Kittel (Argos Shimano).

He’s a rider who has taken a very considerable number of victories on the track, but was just a sliver of time away from missing out on what was a very important road success for him.

“I tried everyday to be in a breakaway. Today it worked. It was a good group, we worked very well together,” he explained. “I felt quite strong and with five kilometres to go I went alone. I saw that I had quite a big gap and I thought I could go for victory.

“I know from the book that the last turn was 180 degrees so I go easy but my front wheel slips and I crash. I try to stay calm and jump on the bike, but the chain was off. So off the bike, put the chain on, on the bike, I look behind and I see the remaining guys of the group 20 or 30 meters behind me. But I’m a track rider, I know what it is to ride a kilometre with a standing start. So that is what I did, as hard and as fast as possible to the finish.”

In this complete video footage from yesterday’s press conference, Keisse speaks about the stage, its significance, his thoughts on missing the Giro and his desire to ride his first Grand Tour, and his ability to mix both road and track. He makes clear that he won’t give up the latter, saying that he loves racing in the velodrome and will continue to compete there, even if he wants a big road career too.


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