Keisse and De Ketele take victory in style in Four Days of Grenoble
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Sunday, October 28, 2012

Keisse and De Ketele take victory in style in Four Days of Grenoble

by Ed Hood at 1:11 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Track, Race Reports and Results
Late burst paves way for ‘doublette’ and final race victory

Iljo Keisse Kenny De KeteleWith a blizzard raging outside the city's Palais des Sport in the small hours of Sunday morning, Belgium's world madison champion Kenny De Ketele paired with classy countryman Iljo Keisse to win the Four Days of Grenoble, relegating the French duo of last year's winner Morgan Kneisky [who triumphed then with Keisse] and Olympic omnium and Worlds U23 road race silver medallist Bryan Coquard, to the second spot on the podium.

The third place was taken by Italians Angelo Ciccone and Fabio Masotti; but when Grenoble 'recordman' Franco Marvulli - who has won in the 'Gateway to the Alps' six times - had to scratch with illness, it was only ever going to be a two horse race.

The French pairing had home advantage, youth and Coquard's sparkling turn of speed on their side. However in the final 180 lap chase the Belgians' experience and raw power was just too much for the French pair. They replied to De Ketele/Keisse's late lap gain, but were left stunned when the Belgians went straight 'over the top' again, without hesitation to take a second, decisive lap.

It was Keisse's third win in Grenoble, with the previous wins coming in 2005 with Matthew Gilmore and 2011 with Kneisky, when the race was run as a six day.

Keisse spoke to VeloNation about his win just minutes after the victory ceremony;

'I'd heard some positive stories about Coquard, that he was fast and strong - and as the week progressed, we could see in the supporting scratch and elimination races that he had a lot of talent,” he said.

“But in the 35 minute chase each night we could see that whilst he's fast, he's also very young and needs more strength. The last chase was the longest of the week and we knew it would be decisive. Now I'm going to prepare for my home six day in Ghent.

“If the weather is good then I'll stay in Belgium, training on the track and behind the motor bike. But if the weather is bad then I'll go to Spain and do the hours on the road.”

He spoke further about his plans, laying out his schedule as it stands now. “I won't be riding the World Cup in Glasgow and will be going to team training camp after Ghent,” he said. “I'll be riding the six days of Rotterdam but won't be riding Zurich - I have another training camp. I won't be riding Bremen either but will ride either Berlin or Copenhagen.”

He commented on the pressures facing this area of the sport, saying that while it’s harder for organisers, it is easier for some of the riders. “It's a shame that the six day season is shrinking but it means you can pick and chose your races to fit in with your road commitments. Maybe that's not good for the six days, but it's good for the riders,” he said.

Keisse revealed that he won’t pair with De Ketele in his home six. “I'll be riding at Ghent with the Australian, Glenn O'Shea. It'll be my first time riding with him, but he's proved his quality in the Worlds and Olympics,” he said. “He's promised me he'll do everything to be in the best possible shape for Ghent. He says that his two big goals for the second half of the season were the Olympics - and Ghent. He says he's 'thrilled' to be riding with me - I'm looking forward to it too.”

De Ketele was also very satisfied with the victory, savouring the success after the race and thinking about how they pulled it off. “It's pretty much as Iljo says…it was close on points all week, the French are fast guys, so we knew we had to win on lap gains,” the madison world champion said. “We won with a 'doublette' (taking two laps, one after the other) and that's the nicest way to win.

“But the French guys are young and fast - they have the potential to be six day winners in the future.”

With Keisse teaming up with O’Shea, De Ketele said that he will be reunited with his partner from the worlds, Gils van Hoecke. ‘I don't know how the French guys will find it there, with two 45 minute chases each night,” he said.

The six day circus rolls on to Ghent for November 20th. With the city being such a heartland of cycling, it will be little surprise that the event is already a complete sell out.

Click on first image below to see photo gallery...






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