De Ketele and De Pauw crowned maiden Six Day Series champions

De Ketele and De Pauw crowned maiden Six Day Series champions
By Sportsbeat

18/03/2017 at 17:44Updated

Belgian champions Kenny de Ketele and Moreno de Pauw insisted they always knew they had what it took to be crowned Six Day Series Final winners after a stunning victory in Mallorca.

Victors in London and Amsterdam so far this season, the pressure was on for the two to deliver once again, this time over one night instead of the six they've become accustomed to.

But it was a challenge they rose to some in some style, as the final 60-minute Madison chase saw them crowned champions – just as it had in London all those months ago.

That was not without immense competition from home heroes Albert Torres and Sebastian Mora Vedri, narrowly beaten into second place while the Netherlands' Wim Stroetinga and Yoeri Havik took third in Palma.

"We're really happy to take the win as it was one day, something special and new for us," said de Pauw.

"We had to change the tactics a bit from Six Day racing, so we're absolutely very happy to get the win."

De Ketele added: "We were confident heading into the evening. In a lot of Six Days, we've had the lead after one day and we're always good from the start, whereas some riders need a day or two to get their form.

"We came here to race seriously, we'd already been in Mallorca for three days and we didn't leave anything to hazard."

Cheered on by a passionate home crowd, it was Torres and Mora Vedri who took the opening 20km Madison chase, impressive from the outset as they looked to make Six Day history in Mallorca.

The Spaniards' form was to continue into the 15km points race, again sitting on the podium – this time in third – as Tristan Marguet and Claudio Imhof took top spot, the Swiss pair narrowly edging out Morgan Kniesky and Benjamin Thomas.

But with de Pauw and de Ketele on their spokes for a third successive race in the next team elimination race, it was never going to be easy to hang on against a team that had also denied Sir Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish home glory in Six Day London in October.

Havik and Stroetinga took the elimination as the race for the top three spots hotted up, all coming down to a tense and turbulent 60-minute Madison chase.

But with the three teams understandably tense, it was the Belgians who eked out a lead in the early stages, only for Havik and Stroetinga as well as Torres and Mora Vedri to reel in a lap of their own.

But, just as it has all Six Day Series, de Pauw's impressive sprint finish to take the glory, and add yet another impressive moment into their partnership together.

"It's a cherry on the pie that is our winter," added de Ketele. "Everywhere we start we go for a win, it's difficult because other teams start looking after us, but if we go from our own strength we can be confident.

"We just have to do it like we always do, go full every day, and in the end if we're really good then we win.

"We all know Moreno is one of the fastest guys in the sprint, especially after a long hard race he doesn't lose his pace, so I knew we had a good chance when it came to be sprint.

"You have to be confident, feel like you are the winner and you can do special things."

The pair have continued to go from strength to strength since victory in London, becoming regulars at the top of the podium and creating a bounty of memories in the process.

But with so many good parts to look back on, it was far from an easy task to pick out just one moment that stood out on the track.

The pair added: "London was special, against Sir Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish, was perhaps the biggest one for us.

"It was the first one with the sprinters, but beating those two legends was really, really special.

"We thought the last day was impossible, having to gain a lap on them, but we did it. Mallorca is certainly up there with that."

Sportsbeat 2017