The Cobbled Classics Have Arrived
Omloop Het Nieuwsblad is the kickoff weekend for the spring classics, specifically the cobbled classics. At 200 kilometers long, Omloop is not as big a day in the saddle for the men as the Tour of Flanders, but Omloop asserts itself on the calendar in ways other than distance.
The Tour of Flanders changed its route some years ago, removing the Muur van Geraardsbergen from its finale to the outrage of many fans. Purists who want to see the peloton shatter over the iconic Muur now turn to Omloop where the Muur features as the route’s penultimate climb, topping out 17 kilometers before the finish in Ninove.
Women's Coverage In 2021
The women will race just over 120 kilometers across eight cobbled sectors and 10 "bergs". The women face the finale on the Muur and Bosberg as the men.
Live images of the women's race will be available upon conclusion of the men's race in 2021. This should allow for approximately one hour of coverage, but exact times will depend on the dynamics of the races.
Deceuninck Not The Team To Beat?
This speaks to the sheer difficulty of the Omloop parcours. Despite being significantly shorter than the Tour of Flanders, the Flemish hills and cobbles are too much for many riders in February. By the time the race hits the Muur, team tactics often goes out the window as leaders become isolated.
In 2015 Ian Stannard pulled one over on a ragged Etixx - Quick Step trio in a defeat that the Belgian team would likely prefer to forget.
Defending champion Jasper Stuyven will team up with Mads Pedersen to challenge the title. Former winners Greg Van Avermaet and Sep Vanmarcke will both debut as leaders of new teams at Omloop this weekend.
Spanish Movistar Team Eyes The Classics
Team Movistar, not a name often associated with cobbled classics success, has seriously bolstered its women's team in 2021. Defending champion Annemiek Van Vleuten will make her debut for Movistar this weekend along with newly recruited teammate, American Leah Thomas.
The Movistar men's classics program has also been strengthened by the addition of Spaniard Iván García Cortina who is perhaps, Spain's greatest classics hope since Juan Antonio Flecha.
All The Flanders Classics on FloBikes
FloBikes will provide exclusive coverage of Omloop het Nieuwsblad and all the Flanders Classics. Tune for live coverage and exclusive content as the peloton tackles cycling's "holy land" in Omloop, Het Nieuwsblad, Gent-Wevelgem, The Tour of Flanders and more.
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