The Danish outsider Michael Valgren Andersen has been the 73rd edition of the Omloop het Nieuwsblad won after an impressive slijtageslag. He was on the new arrival in Meerbeke a elitegroepje with a lot of Belgian team leaders are to fast. The Flemish open, solved, despite the cold all expectations, with a real demonstration of how beautiful course in Flanders. In the final with, among others, the Wall and the Bosberg it rained attacks.
After a rousing startshow left 175 riders at the ICC in Ghent for the first WorldTour race on Flemish soil, to which the new Belgian cycling season started was shot. The Omloop het Nieuwsblad this year was 196,2 km long and was peppered with thirteen slopes and a suit kasseizones. The finish line was for the first time in Meerbeke, on the Halsesteenweg, until 2011, the aankomstsite of the Tour of Flanders, and that made for a watchful waiting koersbegin.
10 runners, 5 Belgians
Ten riders took advantage of them to quickly five minutes to pack, half of them were Belgians with the Cofidis duo of Michael Van Staeyen and Kenneth Vanbilsen, Edward Planckaert (Sport Vlaanderen), Dries De Bondt (Veranda’s Willems-Crelan) and Ludwig De Winter (WB Veranclassic).
In the peloton had the teams of the favourites of the basin to the advantage of the escapees within the limits. The BMC of top favourite and defending champion Greg Van Avermaet put Ventoso on the work, for Quick Step rode Keisse quickly on the head and Denz was the male of AG2R in the service of Belgian champion Oliver Naesen.
After 60 km came with the Haaghoek and Leberg, the first cobblestones and slopes in mind: immediately went up the tempo. But it was much too early for the runners to grab and so kept the lead constantly, to about 100 kilometers from the finish.
Bombs of Quick Step
When the live broadcast on television began, it was immediately the signal for a second time, the throttle open to spin and immediately decreased the gap to 2’30”. After almost 120 miles came to a raging passage about the Haaghoek cracks in the peloton and the leaders. At the front they remained in the with z’n sixes: Vanbilsen, Winter, De Bondt, Van Goethem, Planckaert and Saramotins.
The cold and the wind made the contest a real slijtageslag. However, that was not enough for Philippe Gilbert, who at 75 kilometers from the finish a the first bombs dropped. Immediately, I went into the men of AG2R at the front, Naesen felt clearly okay in spite of that broken nose. A little later it was the turn of Zdenek Stybar to try to draw, but then came a attentive Of the Team at the front.
War on the Molenberg
The Molenberg was the actual finale in: Van Avermaet certain yourself with the quick Bryan Cocquard the pace and made way for the dismemberment. An elite group of twelve leaders in the aftermath of that nasty climb on kousenvoeten driving away, Tim Wellens was also involved and was not afraid to the head to tackle. But there was a lot of fine people in the front, making the party did not come to fruition.
But it was clearly war on the bike: while all 75 riders the brakes were pulled, were the last escapees nabbed. Just before the final, had a hitherto invisible Wout van Aert and return after bad luck.
On that former finale of the Tour of Flanders, we were spoiled. A profuse Tim Wellens was also the first to not include, and the winner of the Ruta del Sol pulled yet again on the Berendries. Van Avermaet smoke hazard and to bounce back to the Observer.
Lotto-Soudal remained very active, and a little later it was the turn of Tiesj Benoot to get everyone off the wheel to talk. Edward Theuns was with initially but should resolve. The Ghent immediately took 20 seconds, but it was still far: 35 km, and on the Tenbosse he also was to the order called by Astana.
Vanmarcke on the Wall, Naesen on the Bosberg
The sleeve and leg warmers were in spite of the poor wind by many riders off: the final, could now really begin. In the group was with a breakneck speed towards the legendary Wall of Geraardsbergen and was the struggle blown to the right position to climb towards wall of the chapel to begin with.
Sep Vanmarcke finally started to be first to the Wall and immediately hit an impressive hole. Zdenek Stybar was the best Quickstepper and drew are the only one in the chase, Van avermaet and Naesen had to adjust. The two reason for going, but were still for the Bosberg again overtaken by a elitegroepje with Van Avermaet, Naesen, Colbrelli, Oss, Trentin, Lutsenko, and… Of Aert! Lotto-Soudal no trace.
The Belgian champion Oliver Naesen certain then the pace on the Bosberg, he came over with Van Avermaet and Vanmarcke in the wheel but also the rest picked up again. The peloton followed at 40 seconds.
Astana was, somewhat surprisingly, in the front of the best represented with in addition to Lutsenko also Gatto and Valgren. They chose, however, for the attack, which always faltered when they were overtaken, and the pursuers, so not yet hopeless were at half a minute. So it was a nerve-wracking final on that difficult job in the direction of Meerbeke, where the wind also against was.
The Dane Michael Valgren Andersen played the ploegenspel perfect and muisde there underneath on wtee kilometers from the finish. It proved to be the right demarrage, Sep Vanmarcke pulled even in the counter attack but came too late. Wisniowski bet eventually even the second.
1. Michael Valgren Andersen Astana)
2. Lukasz Wisniowski (Team Sky)
3. Sep Vanmarcke (Team EF Education First – Drapac).