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Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne will kickstart the 2023 Classics Season

The 2023 cobbled classics season kicks off the weekend of February 25-26 in Belgium, with Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on the Saturday and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne on the Sunday

The 78th edition of the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad takes place on Saturday 25 February. The race marks the opening of the Belgian cycling calendar and features a lot of climbs from the Tour of Flanders. The Wall of Geraardsbergen/Bosberg combo marked the finale of the last editions. At approximately 200 kilometres, the Omloop is the first race in the Flemish Opening Weekend – the other one being Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne.

The route is not yet known for the 2023 race but it does usually take on brutal cobbled climbs such as the famour Muur van Geraardsbergen, kicking off the northern Europe season in style.

The race features thirteen tough climbs between the start in Ghent and the finish in Ninove, each getting harder as the race went on and the kilometres started to add up. With nine cobblestone sections adding to the difficulty, and some of these ridden twice, this 201km parcours will hit the riders hard.

Last year in 2022, the Flemish powerhouse Wout van Aert soloed to victory ahead of Sonny Colbrelli and Greg Van Avermaet sprinted to second and third place.

A brilliant attack from the pack from Wout van Aert (Team Jumbo–Visma) saw him leave his rivals in his dust and win Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, the opening classics race, for the first time.

With 12km to go Van Aert attacked at the base of the Bosberg and broke away, forcing the chasing group to do whatever it took to respond.But none of the pack could go with him, and they were all left chasing with no attempt to counter his move.
 
Van Aert comfortably saw out the win, building a big lead over the chasing pack and coming home for his first victory at Omloop.
 
Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Victorious) won the bunch sprint to take second place, with Greg Van Avermaet (AG2R Citroën) third.
 
Van Aert's win represented a first win for a Belgian national champion at the race for 33 years.
 
After the race Wout van Aert expressed his solidarity with the people of Ukraine following the Russian invasion. "I want to say one more thing: bike racing is the most important side issue in the world, with the emphasis on side issue. It's just madness that war is still possible today, and so close. For what it's worth, I would like to express my support to everyone involved in Ukraine."

2022 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad Top 10

1 Wout Van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma 4:50:48
2 Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain Victorious 0:00:22
3 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) AG2R Citroen Team
4 Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R Citroen Team
5 Victor Campenaerts (Bel) Lotto Soudal
6 Rasmus Tiller (Nor) Uno-X Pro Cycling Team
7 Matteo Trentin (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
8 Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Intermarch?-Wanty-Gobert Mat?riaux
9 Florian Senechal (Fra) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team
10 Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo

 

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