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Kenny de Ketele relishing respected veteran role ahead of attempt at Six Day London hat-trick

De Ketele relishing respected veteran role ahead of attempt at Six Day London hat-trick
By Sportsbeat

12/10/2017 at 22:52Updated 12/10/2017 at 23:03

Two-time Six Day London champion, Six Day Series champion, Madison rider extraordinaire, but Kenny de Ketele is so much more than the sum of his achievements on the bike.

Later this month he will be teaming up with Moreno de Pauw once again as they go in search of a hat-trick of titles at the Lee Valley VeloPark, but since we last saw de Ketele on the track at the World Championships he has enjoyed a fruitful off season.

Still keeping his legs ticking over with some road races during the summer months, de Ketele has focussed more of his attentions on his new coaching role.

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The 32-year-old former Madison world champion has taken up a role with the junior track squad for the Belgian national team – focussing on the team pursuit and his first love, the Madison.

And he has already seem the fruits of his labour as he guided Fabio van den Bossche and Nicolas Wernimont to European junior Madison gold in July.

Belgium's Jasper De Buyst (L) and Kenny De Ketele of team Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise celebrate after winning the final day of the Zesdaagse Vlaanderen-Gent six-day indoor cycling race at the indoor cycling arena 'Het Kuipke', on November 23, 2014 in Ge

Belgium's Jasper De Buyst (L) and Kenny De Ketele of team Topsport Vlaanderen - Baloise celebrate after winning the final day of the Zesdaagse Vlaanderen-Gent six-day indoor cycling race at the indoor cycling arena 'Het Kuipke', on November 23, 2014 in GeGetty Images

"It was a little bit of a surprise when they came to me in April or May and the national team asked me if I would like to consider coaching the young ones," he admitted.

"I loved the idea from the start and I think I did some great work towards the Europeans and Worlds.

"It's completely different just standing on that line though, compared to being on the bike yourself.

"But I've kind of found my way and we've had really, really, good results. It's been nice and I'm looking forward to doing it again next year.

"In the winter I don't have a lot of time to be coaching. After my winter I do some road racing, but in between I have time to train with them and to be there at their championships."

And with the young riders responding to de Ketele's teachings thanks to his standing in the sport, the former European senior Madison champion is also learning a thing or two about himself.

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"Even though I've been racing a lot of years in the professional peloton, sometimes I tell them not to do something because it's not good, then I think to myself that it's actually something I do often as well, that my coach tells me not to do.

"So now, when I race now, I always have in my mind that I can't make the mistakes that I told my riders not to do, so it works out for all of us."

There was further evidence of the respect de Ketele has earned in the cycling world earlier this year as he was elected to the UCI Athletes' Commission while at April's World Championships.

So as well as winning a silver medal in the points race and a bronze in the Madison alongside de Pauw, de Ketele left Hong Kong as one of the most important track cyclists in the world.

Nominated by his fellow riders, de Ketele now represents his riders to the world governing body.

"It was a very nice surprise for me to get voted in," he concluded. "There was a German and a French guy on the list as well, and they already had very big delegations at the World Championships, but we only had a small team.

"So I had my Belgian votes but really got more from other countries, which is great.

"One of the reasons I heard was because I speak a lot of languages and also probably because I'm kind of respected, which is very nice."

Sportsbeat 2017

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