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Now in its 76th year, the Ghent Six Day is undoubtedly one of the world’s richest track races. Held every year in the Kuipke velodrome in downtown Ghent, Belgium, it is also one of the most dramatic six days—mainly because the track is only 166 meters long, hence plunging the riders into one turn after another at dizzying speeds.
Words and Images by James Startt
While much track racing in Ghent is now held at the Eddy Merckx velodrome on the outskirts of town, the annual Ghent Six remains in its traditional venue, where cycling greats such as Rik Van Looy, Eddy Merckx, Peter Post, Patrick Sercu and Danny Clark once rocked the house. And it is here that British world champions Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish teamed up this month one last time on the track to become the first-ever British duo to win in Ghent.
But victory did not come easily, because they trailed for much of the week and only won by lapping the field in the closing stages of the final Madison race. It proved to be an emotional victory for both. Wiggins was born in Ghent and his father Gary Wiggins often raced on this velodrome. And Cavendish was in tears on the podium, knowing that this would be the last time he would team up with his long-time track partner, who is easing into retirement.