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“It’s not about the risk of a crash or about the event itself. We just faced the question: How do we keep him fit? Because Mark also likes doing it, we allowed it. But I’m still not in favour of it.”

Photo: A.S.O.








18.11.2014 @ 11:31 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Tonight the 74th Six-Days of Ghent kicks off in De Kuipke and it is time to find out who will succeed Jasper de Buyst and Leif Lampater on the list of winners after their surprise victory 12 months ago. The Ghent audience can welcome back their local hero Iljo Keisse who will ride on the track with no less of a figure than Mark Cavendish. However, Omega Pharma-Quick Step manager Patrick Lefevere is less enthusiastic.



Twelve months ago, Patrick Lefevere, manager of Omega Pharma-Quick Step, said a clear no when Mark Cavendish hinted that he would like to ride on the velodrome in Ghent. Has he changed his mind completely?


"Actually, no," Lefevere told Het Nieuwsblad. “It’s not about the risk of a crash or about the event itself. We just faced the question: How do we keep him fit? Because Mark also likes doing it, we allowed it. But I’m still not in favour of it.”


The first stumbling block for Lefevere is the date that barely allows the riders a moment to really relax. 


"You also need to prepare such a campaign while in early December we are away for a first training camp," said Lefevere. "If they survive the Six-Day event, the must be back on the road from that date to be ready for the road season."


But that is not the main frustration for Lefevere. It angers him especially that he has to dig deep into their wallet to have the the duo Keisse-Cavendish ride with their usual team jersey. In the Six-Day races, the pairs are usually sponsored by companies that only come in for that specific event.


“For my own cyclists, which I already pay a monthly wage, I have to give a ridiculous €15,000 so that they can race in the Omega Pharma-Quick Step jersey,” Lefevere added. “Cavendish offered to pay me back, but I refused. He has the right, just like the others to keep his starting money.


“Organiser Rob Discart may say that the Ghent Six-Day would go on without Cavendish and Keisse, but I’d say that we’ve give him a beautiful gift.”



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