For years the Omloop het Nieuwsblad, or should we just say Het Volk, has been an important benchmark for cycling fans to look forward to. But it is also a prominent race for the pros. Getting that fat fish right away in the opener of the classic Flemish season, who doesn’t want that. The Omloop is the first spring classic after an immensely long, course-free winter. Maybe that’s why the Omloop doesn’t do much below the traditional monuments in terms of popularity, media attention and actual viewing figures. The last Saturday of February is the day. We’re already counting down! Springclassics.be presents the preview Omloop het Nieuwsblad with the course, course heroics and history and the favorites Omloop het Nieuwsblad 2023!
When is the Omloop het Nieuwsblad 2023?
Saturday, February 25, the Omloop het Nieuwsblad 2023 will be on the program. Circle this day in red in your calendar. If the weather is good, you can start by cycling in the morning – who knows, maybe in a nice spring sun – but from around two o’clock you can expect the soothing voices of Jose and Karl. And to make things even better: according to tradition, the day after the Omloop there will be another classic of note: Kuurne Brussels Kuurne 2023 will take place on Sunday, February 26, 2023. It’s race time!
Preview Omloop het Nieuwsblad 2023
On Voorjaarsklassiekers.be you’ve come to the right place for everything about the Omloop 2023! With history about this great race, more information about the course and of course the preview with favorites and the famous stars for the Omloop 2023! It’s race time!
The first pancakes are for the kids, but they do taste good huh! – Patrick Lefevere, team manager of Soudal – Quick Step, rightly notes that the monuments are only on the program later in the season, but that first fat fish which is an Omloop is always welcome!
History of the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad
The Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (also known as the Omloop Het Volk) is a classic cycling race that takes place every year in Belgium. The race is held in late February and is typically the first major road race of the cycling season in Europe.
The race was first held in 1945 and was originally called the Omloop van Vlaanderen. It was organized by the Belgian newspaper Het Volk, so the race became known as the Omloop Het Volk. In 2010, the race was renamed Omloop Het Nieuwsblad after Het Volk merged with another newspaper, Het Nieuwsblad.
The race is known for its challenging course, with a number of cobbled sections and steep climbs through the Flemish Ardennes. It is a one-day race covering a distance of about 200 kilometers and usually attracts a strong field of participants. Among the race’s winners are some of cycling’s most famous names, such as Eddy Merckx, Roger De Vlaeminck and Tom Boonen.
For years, the Omloop – together with Kuurne Brussel Kuurne – has been the traditional opener of the Flemish cycling year!
Last ten winners of the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad
2022: Wout van Aert
2021: Davide Ballerini
2020: Jasper Stuyven
2019: Zdeněk Štybar
2018: Michael Valgren
2017: Greg Van Avermaet
2016: Greg Van Avermaet
2015: Ian Stannard
2014: Ian Stannard
2013: Luca Paolini
The 75th edition of the Omloop het Nieuwsblad fell to Wout van Aert. The Jumbo-Visma all-rounder attacked from the bunch on the Bosberg and was never caught. It was the first victory ever in this opening classic for Van Aert and the first victory of a Belgian champion in the Omloop in 33 years! Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Victorious) won the bunch sprint and was second, Greg Van Avermaet (AG2R Citroën) third.
The 75th edition of the Omloop het Nieuwsblad fell to Wout van Aert. The Jumbo-Visma ace and all-rounder attacked from the bunch on the Bosberg and was never caught. It was the first victory ever in this opening classic for Van Aert and the first victory of a Belgian champion in the Omloop in 33 years! Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Victorious) won the bunch sprint and was second, Greg Van Avermaet (AG2R Citroën) third.
Course of the Omloop het Nieuwsblad 2023
The official presentation of the Omloop het Nieuwsblad 2023 course is still to come, but the course will most likely not differ much from that of the 2022 edition. There it was noticeable that, unlike in previous years, the Wolvenberg was missing. Also last year – and expected in the 76th edition in 2023 – that De Muur van Geraardsbergen and Bosberg (at 17 and 12 kilometers from the finish respectively), which until 2011 formed the apotheosis of the Tour of Flanders, will again be the absolute finale in the Omloop het Nieuwsblad 2023.
Unlike the 2022 Omloop, the 2023 Omloop het Nieuwsblad will not finish on the Onderwijslaan, but will move to the Elisabethlaan. The 2024 and 2025 Omloop het Nieuwsblad will also still finish in Ninove. The 2023 Omloop het Nieuwsblad will also have the finale with the Muur van Geraardsbergen and the Bosberg.
“We are enormously pleased to once again be the host city for the beautiful opening classic of both the men’s and women’s races. […] Cycling is celebration and connects people. We are already looking forward to Saturday, February 25, 2023,” said the mayor of Ninove Tania De Jonghe.
The Omloop Het Nieuwsblad 2023 course counts 207 kilometers for the men and 132 kilometers for the women. The Haaghoek-Leberg duo will most likely play a key role again and the Molenberg and Langte Munte return in the course. The Langte Munte, at 40 kilometers from the finish, given its location, will again herald the beginning of the finale. “Next awaits the duo Haaghoek-Leberg (the third and final passage in the men’s race), followed by Berendries and Elverenberg-Vossenhol. In full finale also in 2023 the Muur van Geraardsbergen and the Bosberg are not missing, after which we finish 12 km down the Elisabethlaan,” we read in the in the press release.
Weather and TV
A pleasant spring sunshine. Cold temperatures, but fortunately dry. Or just bizarrely cold, due to a late winter. One thing is for sure, only the day before the Omloop het Nieuwsblad the riders know what they are in for. In the Omloop, you may just have to ride in harsh, wet or cold, conditions. The bear race of Ian Stannard – beat Greg van Avermaet in extreme cold and wet conditions in 2014, prolonged his title again in extreme cold in 2015. Or the freezing conditions that eventually benefited Scandinavian Michael Valgren.
Favorites Omloop het Nieuwsblad 2023
Tadej Pogačar who showed high form in Andalusia and Tom Pidcock who is already doing well in the Tour of Algarve. The real classics assert themselves early in the season. Four of the Big Five – defending champion Wout van Aert, like Mathieu van der Poel, Pogi and also Julian Alaphilippe – will only be seen for the first time in the classics next week at the Strade Bianche 2023, Tom Pidcock will be at the Omloop het Nieuwsblad 2023. Still, there are enough classics riders at the start to be only too eager to win the first cobbled classic of the year. Who will succeed Wout van Aert? Who are the favorites and who can you play as a dark horse in your spring classics preview? Voorjaarsklassiekers.be sets out the favorites Omloop het Nieuwsblad 2023! It’s finally race time again!
Favorites Omloop het Nieuwsblad 2023 according to Voorjaarsklassiekers.be
A cross between Philippe Gilbert and Tom Boonen. A world star in the making. A potential new cobblestone king. Nothing but praise from the pro peloton as well as from the media. Arnaud de Lie is only 20 years young, but a very big talent. And the ‘Bull of Lescheret’ is having a fantastic start to the year. In January he won the 1969 Lotto Dnsty Clàssica Comunitat Valenciana klepper and in early February he won two stages in the Ster van Bessèges. Can the man in form strike right away in the first classic of 2023?
If so, De Lie will have to deal with his compatriot Jasper Philipsen. The 24-year-old rider from Alpecin will want to be there right away, in the 2023 Omloop het Nieuwsblad. “Whether it is realistic to score immediately in the Omloop? That will be difficult. But the hope is that I will have the form I had last year in the Tour this time also in the spring. Then I think about Milan-Sanremo, Dwars door Vlaanderen, Gent-Wevelgem…,” Philipsen told our colleagues at Het Nieuwsblad earlier this month. If we sprint at the new arrival on the Elisabethlaan, he will be the biggest favorite behind De Lie.
Alexander Kristoff is also a favorite in a sprint. Not one of the top favorites, but someone you can definitely play. Depending on the type of pool or game you play. Are you allowed to bet riders only once this classic season, we advise you to play the furry bear of Uno-X a day later in Kuurne Brussel Kuurne 2023 or for example only in April in the Scheldeprijs. But do you play the Scorito Classics game or its equivalent, for example? Then write up the Norwegian!
At INEOS Grenadiers, they will travel to Ghent at full strength. Let them have two men in form there. Tom Pidcock is one of our favorites for victory in the Omloop het Nieuwsblad, Ben Turner is high on our list of outsiders. The 23-year-old Turner won the Vuelta Ciclista a la Región de Murcia Costa Cálida earlier this month and rode handsomely to a second place in the gravel race Jaén Paraiso Interior, won by Tadej Pogačar. Leader in the Omloop is expected to be Pidcock. The British all-rounder showed great form in the Tour of the Algarve and will be able to strike straight away on Saturday in the absence of Wout and Mathieu!
Victor Campenaerts trained for only one goal last year: to win Dwars door Vlaanderen. In the end he had to settle for fourth place – after finishing fifth in the Omloop earlier in the early spring despite a lot of trouble and bad luck. This year VocSnor is throwing everything over and the goal for 2023 is not Dwars door Vlaanderen but, you can feel him coming, the Omloop het Nieuwsblad. “This will be my third ‘real’ spring, but I feel I have the necessary experience to perform and also as a team we are again hyper-motivated to show ourselves,” he said. This year Dwars door Vlaanderen has become a little less selective at first glance, I dream mainly of winning in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, which is currently my drive on training,” said the Flemish hard rider. Will we see Campenaerts with the flowers in Ninove?
One thing is certain. Should it rain in the 78th edition of the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Tim Wellens will end up with a few more stars. The 31-year-old from Sint-Truiden is the rain rider par excellence, someone who comes out on top in snertweer. The new addition to the ranks of Pogi at Team UAE Emirates will be the absolute leader in the Omloop. After his victory on his favorite hill in the Ruta del Sol, where Wellens also won in 2018 and 2018, his morale is higher than ever. And now just some rain please!
From INEOS to that otherwise strong block, Team Jumbo Visma. Will the card of newcomer Dylan van Baarle be played? Or will Tiesj Benoot get a free role in the Omloop? One thing is certain, both men will want to take advantage of their own leader’s absence. Although both Benoot (only one top-ten listing out of eight participations) and Van Baarle (three participations, no top-ten times) have never been on the rendezvous in the Omloop – we should definitely take both gentlemen into account.
Soudal-Quick Step, the classic ensemble of yesteryear, will appear at the start with all the necessary guns – they don’t have a real favorite in their ranks, but beware, if all goes well, Florian Senechal or Yves Lampaert could win here. And oh, how they could win!
Then our dark horses. Let’s start with some Belgians, real Flandriens, who come back every year in the Omloop. As if they are already training full speed the day after Il Lombardia for that first classic of the new year. Because not only at the spring classics offices, also in the homes of Van Avermaet, Stuyven and Vanmarcke the Omloop is always a benchmark. Énd that Greg van Avermaet, Jasper Stuyven and Sep Vanmarcke are always good here is a given. Golden Greg won the Omloop in 2016 and 2017, Stuyven rocketed in 2020 and Vanmarcke managed to win back in 2012. What can these classics do in the 2023 Omloop het Nieuwsblad?
Contenders en favorites Omloop het Nieuwsblad 2023 according to Voorjaarsklassiekers.be
**** Arnaud de Lie
**** Tom Pidcock
*** Jasper Philipsen
** Tim Wellens
* Victor Campenaerts
Dark horses: Alexander Kristoff, Dylan van Baarle, Jasper Stuyven, Ben Turner and Yves Lampaert