In 2016 and 2017, the first race of the Flemish Opening Weekend was won by Greg Van Avermaet, and in the two editions before Ian Stannard came out on top. Other winners of the race are Philippe Gilbert (twice), Sep Vanmarcke, Sebastian Langeveld and Filippo Pozzato. But what will happen with the new finale? After moving through Brakel, with 26 kilometres left, the Omloop continues on the exact same roads that until recently marked the Tour of Flanders’ finale.
Straight after Brakel the riders hit Ten Bosse, 540 metres at 8.1%, before a 10 kilometres flat leads to the iconic Wall of Geraardsbergen, which is a cobbled speed breaker of 475 metres at 9.3%. And on it goes to Bosberg, a 980 metres climb at 5.8% (half of it cobbled). At the top of Bosberg the route continues on the flat or 11.9 kilometres before the line in Meerbeke.
Last year, Van Avermaet bested Peter Sagan and Sep Vanmarcke in a three-up sprint to the line. Yet, that was in Ghent after a finale with the last climb with 35 kilometres out. In 2018 it will be different. Who are the major contenders to win the 2018 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad?
With Van Avermaet, Gilbert, Vanmarcke and Langeveld the field features four former winners.
Favourites 2018 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad
*** Greg Van Avermaet, Philippe Gilbert, Tim Wellens, Tiesj Benoot
** Dylan van Baarle, Niki Terpstra, Jasper Stuyven, Oliver Naesen, Edvald Boasson Hagen
* Michael Matthews, Sep Vanmarcke, Jürgen Roelandts, Sebastian Langeveld
Omloop Het Nieuwsblad 2018: Route maps, height profiles, and more
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Video final 5 km
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