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"I think it is unfortunate that road teams prohibit certain riders from riding on the track. Although I understand that these teams do not like to see their riders wear another jersey on the boards, with another sponsor."



22.11.2015 @ 06:30 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Kenny De Ketele is a veteran at the Six-Days of Ghent whose future looks good but he is less impressed with the prospects for the Belgian national team. "Make it mandatory for strong time triallists to ride on the track," he tells Sporzaas he makes suggestions to save Belgian track racing.


De Ketele has several concerns:

- In track cycling it is much more difficult to qualify for the Olympics
- Road teams forbid riders to ride on the track
- The media especially paid attention to the team pursuit when the project failed
- There is a shortage of Belgian youth riders on the track



The Belgian track riders excel in the Six-Days. Hence, you might think that they have good medal in Rio but the reality is different.


"I have experienced difficult moments in the beginning of November at the World Cup in Cali," said De Ketele who did the omnium.


"I certainly did not perform badly, but my strengths are my endurance and fighting and attacking spirit. These are the cards you need to play in Six-Days and at the World Cup in the points race and madison. Not in an Olympic discipline like the omnium."


De Ketele was part of the Belgian team pursuit project which was shut down two weeks ago. "I'm very disappointed about that project. It was hard to read the articles in the newspapers. The project has never received more attention than when they shut it down. That's a pity."



"I also find it frustrating that it is difficult to qualify for the Olympics in track racing. In the team pursuit, there is only room for nine teams in Rio.


"That's already a final. In many sports, the qualifying tournament will take place in Rio but not in track cycling is not. That makes for a bitter feeling."


According to De Ketele, the Belgian national team should also look at itself. "What is wrong with out training? Individually we're making progress, but in a team we have to ride together.


"I think it is unfortunate that road teams prohibit certain riders from riding on the track. Although I understand that these teams do not like to see their riders wear another jersey on the boards, with another sponsor.


"Another problem in Belgium is that there is very little inflow of young riders. Track cycling deters many riders."



De Ketele suggests the following solutions:

- The strong Belgian time triallists have to ride on the track

- Build a team that only focuses on the team pursuit and not have to ride anyting else
- Adjust and improve the training methods


"Perhaps we should also require the strong Belgian time triallists from the road to ride on the track," said De Ketele.


"To ride on the track would still to be part of their training. Riders must recognize that the track qualities form an important foundation for their future career. A lot of riders in the Tour have a past on the track, which you cannot ignore.


"In Belgium, we should also be able to build a team which only needs to focus on the team pursuit. But then you must ensure that riders earn enough so they do not have to switch to other disciplines where they have to earn something extra.


"In cycling they do not understand what impact the Olympics have on an athlete. Track cycling is my passion and I would love to share my love for it with other people.


"If we can start other projects and grab medals in the future, it would please me a lot."



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