The Omloop Het Nieuwsblad was a proper Flandrian affair, bitterly cold, wet and windy, which meant that the peloton was really on edge. Chloe Hosking and Sara Poidevin got caught up in a crash before the first cobbled section, but both stayed calm and were soon back to the pointy end. Hosking made it into an elite group of about 20 riders as the race split over the Molenberg, then the race situation didn’t change much until the foot of the Kapelmuur, where Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott) attacked and stayed away until the finish. Hosking won the sprint for eighth and Poidevin impressed in 30th.
Leaves Gent in the direction of the tricky, undulating, cobbled terrain further south, before heading east to Ninove via Geraardsbergen.
Characterized by its technical route with cobbled sectors and sharp climbs, it’s a fast approach to the finish after the Bosberg as the race enters Ninove for a flat run-in.
It was chilly and overcast from the start, wind and heavy rain soon making things difficult for the peloton. It cleared up a little, but the temperature dropped as the afternoon went on.
Quote of the day
“I’m really satisfied with my race. I went in with the goal of winning the bunch kick, whether that was for the win or behind a select group. I have to be realistic and accept that I’m not going to be able to climb with the best climbers in the world, and instead I have to focus on my strengths. Today I didn’t win, but I showed that I have a strong sprint at the end of a hard race, and we have a few races coming up that are sprint friendly. So, I can look ahead to those and be confident.”
- Rally Cycling well-represented in the main group, staying vigilant and attentive to changes in the race situation early on.
- The peloton splits over the Molenberg with the help of a cross-tailwind, Hosking present near the front with Team Sunweb and Boels Dolmans setting the pace.
- Hosking cautious near the front of the group as they enter Geraardsbergen. Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott) accelerates off the front on the Kapelmuur, the World Champion rapidly forging a gap on the cobbled climb.
- Van Vleuten stays away to take the victory solo and Hosking wins the sprint for eighth.
After giving their all in the first Belgian classic of the season, Rally Cycling now heads to Italy for the Strade Bianche on March 7. The ladies will swap the cobbles of northern Europe for the gravel roads of Tuscany, where they’ll hope to build on the momentum established this weekend.