24 Feb Omloop het Nieuwsblad Preview (WE 1.1)
The 2017 cycling season is about to unofficially start this weekend in Belgium with two one-day UCI WE 1.1 ranked races, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Omloop van het Hageland. On Saturday, 25 February 2017 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad will be held in Ghent. It will be the twelfth edition and the second under UCI WE 1.1 status of the one-day race organised by Flanders Classics.
We mentioned in our 2017 road cycling guide:
“The rainbow jersey, Danish rider Amalie Dideriksen, will make her debut on the road on Saturday, 25 February 2017 at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, which means she won’t participate at the last round of the UCI Track World Cup 2016-17 that is held on 25-26 February 2017 in LA, USA. Same race in which her teammate Lizzie Deignan began with victory, her 2016 rainbow jersey season. Will Amalie do the same?
The race does not only serve as the start of the season for the Danish rider but for many riders of the international peloton, mostly European. A season that began officially in November in Africa, with three one-day race events in South Africa, and that has seen its schedule reduced with the recent disappearance of two stage races, Tour de San Luis (in January) and Ladies Tour of Qatar (in February).”
Dutch ex-rider Suzanne de Goede and Swedish rider Emma Johansson (Wiggle-High5) are the winning record holders of the race with two victories each. Johansson won’t take place in the race following a different approach to the cycling season in her farewell season.
Saturday, 25 February 2017, local time from 11:30 am till 14:30 pm approx (UTC+1)
The 2017 course remains mostly unchanged from previous years with nine climbs (Nokereberg, Tiegemberg, Kluisberg, Côte de Trieu, Paterberg, Kortekeer, Ladeuze, Wolvenberg y Molenberg) and six cobbled sections (Ruiterstraat, Karel Martelstraat, Holleweg, Paddestraat, Lippenhovestraat, Lange Munte). The middle section of the race, from the Côte de Trieu (at 60km mark) until the Padestraat cobbled section (at 94km mark), is once again the key segment as it will likely split the main group and cause important front selection, putting some quick finishers into difficulty. Thus, a demanding course that together with a cold and wet weather forecast will make once again a very tough race, which will likely end with a very reduced bunch sprint or solo breakaway finale as we witnessed in the 2016 edition of the race. The final stretch to the finish line is uphill.
Favourites & Outsiders
Chantal Blaak, Leah Kirchmann, Elena Cecchini, Tiffany Cromwell
Amy Pieters, Carmen Small, Lucinda Brand, Jolien D’hoore, Annemiek van Vleuten
Dani King, Olga Zabelinskaya, Joëlle Numainville, Elisa Longo Borghini, Kasia Niewiadoma, Amanda Spratt
Our favourite: Chantal Blaak
Our outsider: Dani King
Lorena Llamas, Lourdes Oyarbide and Yessica Pérez (Bizkaia-Durango), Bea Gómez, Ziortza Isasi, Cristina Martínez, Eider Merino, Belén López and Alba Teruel (Lointek), and Sheyla Gutiérrez (Cylance) will be our Spanish representatives at the 2017 edition of Omloop het Nieuwsblad.
British rider Lizzie Deignan (Boels-Dolmans) won in her first race since winning the rainbow jersey at Richmond World Championships, fading away any rainbow jersey curse chat. A tremendous performance by the British rider, that manage to break away together with Australian rider Gracie Elvin (Orica-AIS). The breakaway duo managed to open a 40 second gap with 20 kilometres to go. Later on, with nearly 10 kilometres to go, Deignan soloed to the finish line, making real the perfect debut with the most coveted jersey. Elvin could not hold her effort and was finally caught by the peloton, that crossed the finish line 29 seconds behind the British rider. Dutch rider Chantal Blaak (Boels-Dolmans) finished second after winning the bunch sprint, while Australian Tiffany Cromwell (Canyon-SRAM) completed the podium.
How to follow the race
Omloop het Nieuwsblad won’t be streamed live, though it is possible that during the men’s race (or at the end of it) some highlights or images of it will be shown.
A few Twitter accounts and hashtags (among others) to follow the race:
A few Facebook accounts: