Mark Cavendish and Omega Pharma - Quick-Step team-mate Iljo Keisse finished runners-up in the Lotto Six-Days Flanders-Ghent event on the short, steeply banked 166-metre track in Belgium.
The pair knew that they needed to gain a lap late in the final Madison on Sunday, after a challenging week of clawing their way into the top overall spot and defending their leadership.
Kenny De Ketele and Jasper De Buyst entered the final Madison as leaders, but Cav and Keisse went on the attack and reclaimed their place on the top step by gaining a lap.
But, with 20 laps to go, De Buyst and De Ketele retook the GC leadership. It was up to Keisse and Cavendish to go on the offensive again as it was their last chance for victory.
They did exactly that, and it was a close call for holding the gap and taking the crucial lap that would seal the win.
Unfortunately, the gap was too small and they were caught before the finish, which meant De Buyst and De Ketele won the Ghent Six-Days and Cavendish and Keisse were second overall.
The duo won the Team Elimination event earlier in the day, and Keisse also took the Derny.
‘We tried everything and I’m happy with how we did,’ said Cav. ‘I had the best partner in my good friend Iljo. it’s an honour to ride with him.
‘The fans here were incredible.’