2022 Women's Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

Three Top Favorites For Women's 2022 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

Three Top Favorites For Women's 2022 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

Narrowing down the three favorites, including world champion Elisa Balsamo, at this weekend's Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.

Feb 23, 2022 by Jessica Alexander
Three Top Favorites For Women's 2022 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad kicks off the 2022 spring classics, and is the first of the 2022 Flanders Classics, a six-part series featuring some of the sport's most iconic one-day cobbled races.

On Saturday. Feb. 26, the event often called the miniature Tour of Flanders marks the first major one-day race for the men's and women's pelotons.

The women's peloton features a deep field of potential classics winners. FloBikes has narrowed down that list to highlight three top favorites for the season's opening classic.

Elisa Balsamo

Elisa Balsamo surprised many by outsprinting Marianne Vos to earn the UCI road world championship title in last fall's Flanders Worlds. The 23-year-old Italian proved her mettle in the Flanders classics last spring, earning multiple top-five finishes. 

Now backed by the powerful Trek-Segafredo team, Balsamo won her season opening race at the Volta Comunitat Valenciana. While Balsamo does not yet have the palmares of some of her top competitors, her career is on an upward trajectory, and she looks primed for classics success this spring. 

Lotte Kopecky

Belgian national time trial and road champion Lotte Kopecky is always hanging around the top in the spring classics, but she has yet to seal a victory in the Flanders Classics. 

Kopecky has twice finished second in Gent-Wevelgem and arrived third in the 2020 Tour of Flanders. She signed a three-year contract with SD Worx last fall, a team which will provide her with more support and structure than she's had before. Anna Van Der Breggen, one of Kopecky's top competitors from years past, will be supporting the Belgian from the SD Worx team car. 

Belgian fans are weary of Dutch women dominating their spring classics. Kopecky's transfer to one of the best teams in the business might give the hometown favorite the edge needed to assume the top step on the podium this weekend. 

Annemiek Van Vleuten

Annemiek Van Vleuten is one of the most dominant cyclists in the women's peloton. In years past, she has been able to simply ride away from the field thanks to her climbing and time trialing strengths. Look for the Movistar rider to light up the final 50-kilometers of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in an attempt to claim yet another solo classics victory.