It’s been a long time since I’ve posted a pro race info/route article (and my visitor stats are suffering from it!), so I thought I’d take advantage of the relative lull in my own cycling life by introducing you (and me) to Omloop Het Nieusblad, the first Belgian Classics race of the season, held today, at the end of February, in northern Europe – proof that the Flemish really are nuts.
This race begins and finishes in Ghent, in east Flanders, and is around 200 km long. The course takes in some of the cobbled sections and bergs raced over in the Tour of Flanders, making this a popular warm-up for the big daddy in April.
Notables in this afternoon’s event include Sir Bradley ‘can he win Roubaix?’ Wiggins, Ian Stannard (Sky’s leader today), Tom Boonen, Greg Van Avermaet, Sep Vanmarcke, Phil Gilbert, Edvald Boassan Hagen, and a bunch of other very large and strong riders, often with ‘Van’ somewhere in their names.
I have not been following cycling as much as I usually do this early season so I don’t have a pick for this one. I’ll stick my neck out though and predict a Belgian. I think that’s a safe bet.