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The field of riders of the 78th Lotto Six Days Flanders-Ghent was announced this week. The top in international elite track men and women cyclists will once again rip up the famous Kuipke velodrome. The riders will be cheered on by a selection of top artists and on Tuesday a special guest will provide the starting gun to kick off the week.
Kenny De Ketele will attempt to defend his title together with Robbe Ghys. The European champions will go head to head with world champions Roger Kluge and Theo Reinhardt. Iljo Keisse joins up with team mate Elia Viviani who is the reigning Olympic Omnium champion. Moreno De Pauw, will together with youngster Lindsay De Vylder make a bid for victory. Yoeri Havik and Wim Stroetinga are a strong Dutch couple. The other duos are: 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 has already been announced as one of the favourites. He will be looking for his third victory with Lotto Soudal teammate Tosh Van der Sande. Although this will be the first time in a while that they have competed at Kuipke, with De Buyst last taking part 3 years ago and the last time that Van de Sande took part was 6 years ago.
On Friday and Saturday the women will be at the centre of the action in the Kuipke. The points race takes place on Friday and the Omnium takes place on the Saturday. Dutch woman Kirsten Wild is the current world champion in the Omnium, the points race and the scratch so she is sure to be a tough competitor. The Belgian duo of Jolien D’Hoore and Lotte Kopecky are favourites to win the race. Annelies Dom, Shari Bossuyt, Gilke Croket, Marit Raaimakers, Kristie van Haaften, Valentine Fortin, Amy Cure and Anita Stenberg have also been confirmed to race.
Every day the main programme of the Lotto Z6daagse Vlaanderen-Gent is preceded by the AVS-Cup, a brilliant competition for riders under 23 years of age. The strongest Belgian youngsters compete against a selection of promising riders from all over Europe. On Sunday Ayrton De Pauw and Nicky Degrendele will go record hunting as De Pauw will attempt to break the record for the 500m from a standing start. Whereas, Degrendele, who is the current world champion in the Keirin, will attempt to break the women’s track record. On Wednesday, the best Belgian G-athletes can show their skills on the Kuipke track.
The Lotto Six Day Flanders-Ghent is not only a 6 day world class sport event but also a brilliant party with a fantastic atmosphere. You may never have heard of these people but you will definitely enjoy listening to their music! On Wednesday you will see Gunther Neefs, on Thursday Laura Lynn gets you in the mood with some German ‘Schlagers’ and on Friday it’s Coco Jr. whilst on Saturday Garry Hagger will provide the entertainment.
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