2022 Women's Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

Three Dark Horses That Could Win Women's 2022 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

Three Dark Horses That Could Win Women's 2022 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

American Kristen Faulkner proved her potential in last year's spring classics. Will BikeExchange-Jayco put her on the top step of the podium in 2022?

Feb 23, 2022 by Jessica Alexander
Three Dark Horses That Could Win 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.

While riders such as Annemiek van Vleuten and Marianne Vos are perennial favorites, the women's peloton never fails to provide a host of capable challengers, which often results in explosive and unpredictable finishes. Below are three top dark horses with a shot at stealing this year's opening classic victory. 

Kristen Faulkner 

American Kristen Faulkner's upward trajectory into the Women's WorldTour continues as a member of team BikeExchange-Jayco in 2022. 

Team TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank introduced Faulkner to European racing during the abridged 2020 season. She had no difficulty adapting to the professional peloton, winning a stage of Tour Cycliste Féminin International de l'Ardèche that year, and a stage of the Ladies Tour of Norway in 2021.

Faulkner was a fixture in the finale of many spring classics last season and earned a 10th place finish in the Tour of Flanders, a remarkable feat considering she had a full-time job two months prior.

For the 2022 season, Faulkner moved to Europe and signed with a major WorldTour team, which should be able to offer her the support and guidance needed to turn her raw talent into victories. Her first test in the BikeExchange colors will be Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.

Ellen van Dijk

A diesel engine of a rider, Ellen Van Dijk will be riding for world champion Elisa Balsamo. Van Dijk's power and experience makes her a valuable captain for Trek-Segafredo, but the Dutch rider is more than capable of racing for herself when needed. 

Van Dijk is an expert tactician and boasts the power of the current world time trial champion. If an opportunity presents itself in the finale, Van Dijk will not hesitate to jump clear.

Marlen Reusser 

The current Swiss road champion, Marlen Reusser will help round out a strong team of women at SD Worx, including Belgium’s Lotte Kopecky. 

Reusser's ninth place finish at the Tour of Flanders in 2021 proved her capabilities in the spring classics. She also gave Van Dijk a run for her money in the world championships time trial last year, but settled for a close second place finish.

Like Van Dijk, Reusser has a capable sprinter to look after, enough power to turn the race on its head if an opportunity presents itself.