2022 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

Tom Pidcock Headlines Four Top Favorites For 2022 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

Tom Pidcock Headlines Four Top Favorites For 2022 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

Omloop marks the start of the 2022 spring classics on February 26th. FloBikes has identified four riders as favorites for an early season victory.

Feb 17, 2022 by Jessica Alexander
Sheffield To Debut In Classics At Omloop

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad marks the start of the 2022 spring classics on Saturday, Feb. 26. Omloop Het Nieuwsblad is often referred to as the miniature Tour of Flanders because it features the Ronde’s much-loved finale over the Muur van Geraardsbergen into Ninove.

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad kicks off a two-race weekend, known as the 'opening weekend' for the spring classics, and is an important first objective for any rider hoping to win the Tour of Flanders in April. 

FloBikes has identified four riders as the stand-out favorites for an early season victory at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. 

Wout van Aert

Wout van Aert, had a huge year in 2021, with a hat-trick of wins in the Tour de France (winning a mountain stage, a time trial and a bunch sprint) and, only a week later, a silver medal in the Olympics in the Road race. With a second place at Brabantse Pijl, a third place at Milan-San Remo and a fourth place at Strade Bianche also in 2021, it’s clear that Van Aert can succeed at both multi-day Grand Tours as well as traditional one-day classics races. 

In January, Van Aert sacrificed an opportunity to win another cyclocross world championship title. Rather than travel to the U.S. for worlds, Van Aert chose to focus solely on success in the 2022 spring classics, a fact which suggests he means business at Omloop.

Sonny Colbrelli

Sonny Colbrelli ended his 2021 season as a dominant force in the classics. An impressive showing at the Flanders Road World Championships set the stage for his dramatic victory in the muddy and cold edition of Paris-Roubaix. 

Colbrelli has always been an antagonist in classics-style races, but his 2021 success earned him the distinction as an outright favorite this spring in Belgium.

Kasper Asgreen

Danish time trial champion and all-around strong-man Kasper Asgreen has proven to be one of Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl’s most dependable options in the classics. Expect to see Asgreen breaking apart the race over the final climbs of the day. 

In 2021, Asgreen won the Tour of Flanders by defeating Mathieu van der Poel in a sprint finish, proving that at the end of a long race, he can out-power some of the quickest riders in the peloton. 

Tom Pidcock

In 2021, Tom Pidcock proved his classics potential with impressive showings in Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne, Milan-Sanremo and Strade Bianche before winning De Brabantse Pijl. 

Pidcock would go on to win the gold medal in the Tokyo Olympics mountain bike race, and he dominated the Fayetteville Cyclocross World Championships this past January. With his multi-discipline success, Pidcock is quickly following in the footsteps of Wout van Aert and Mathieu van der Poel, both of whom have dominated the classics in recent years. 

Although Pidcock has stated his first goal of the season is Strade Bianche on March 5th, he has already proven to be in championship-winning form in 2022. 

Thanks to his winter cyclocross exploits, Pidcock should be arriving at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in sharper shape than most other riders. In contrast to Pidcock's winter strategy, Wout van Aert ended his cyclocross season early in an attempt to build his form towards the Tour of Flanders. While Pidcock's cyclocross campaign will likely give him an edge in February, that strategy may prove to hinder him in the long run. For now, Tom Pidcock is the top favorite for the first cobbled classic of the season.