Jumbo-Visma might not have had 2022 champion Wout Van Aert in the race, but the team kept the title of the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, the first race of the Opening Week of the Classics season, 1.Pro-rated Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne following on Saturday. In his first race of the season and his first race for his new squad, Dutchman Dylan van Baarle, the 2022 Paris-Roubaix champion, took the day’s flowers. Adam de Vos, who was in the day’s breakaway, was top Canadian in 83rd.
Over 208 km, the course offered up eight sectors of cobbles, nine climbs and two cobbled climbs, the most important of which was the Muur van Geraardsbergen/Kapelmuur (1 km of 9.2 percent) that came with 16.5 km to go. Four kilometres after the Muur was the Bosberg climb (1 km of 5.8%).
🚴🏻♂️ 207.80 Km
📺 @EurosportFrance @lequipe 13h30#AG2RCITROËNTEAM #RoulonsAutrement #RideDifferently pic.twitter.com/XKQfyXEav6
— AG2R CITROËN TEAM (@AG2RCITROENTEAM) February 25, 2023
It was very windy in the finishing town of Ninove.
— Cycling out of context (@OutOfCycling) February 25, 2023
Four Canadians lined up in Ghent. Guillaume Boivin of Israel-Premier Tech and national champ Pier-André Coté, Adam de Vos and Boivin’s old teammate Ben Perry of Human Powered Health were good to go.
By the midway point of the race, there was a seven-strong breakaway that included de Vos up the road and a sextet in pursuit 3:30 back. De Vos wears the orange helmet in Cofidis’ tweet below.
La tête de course avec @jellewallays compte encore 2′ d’avance sur un groupe de contre et 3′ sur le peloton.
🏁 75km#OHN2023 📸 @GettySport pic.twitter.com/KjNT9io80I
— Team Cofidis (@TeamCOFIDIS) February 25, 2023
Jumbo-Visma had been doing most of the chasing but with two men in Group 2, contender Arnaud De Lie’s Lotto-Dstny took over. The peloton’s scrapping for position on the Valkenberg climb and Holleweg cobbles absorbed Group 2 and yanked the breakaways closer.
The escape drawing closer elicted many attacks, which caused crashes. De Lie was one rider who went down, and he had to change machines. De Vos and his fellow fugitives absorbed, Jumbo’s Christophe Laporte made a dig on the Molenberg with 41 km to go. The frenetic action split the peloton.
From this group Jumbo-Visma’s new fellow Dylan van Baarle kicked away with three others before the Leberg, Jasper Stuyven leading a sextet…
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