Omloop Het Nieuwsblad 2019: Favourites

Michael Valgren won last year's race with a late attack, while Greg Van Avermaet took his home race in 2016 and 2017. Who are the major contenders to win the 2019 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad?

The season is still young, so it is hard to pinpoint absolute favourites. But obviously, we have the usual suspects in the Flemish Classics – the Olympic Champion himself, Sep Vanmarcke, Tiesj Benoot and Tim Wellens.

After ten years of starting and finishing in Ghent, the finale of last year’s Omloop revived the much-loved climax of the old Tour of Flanders. Although the finish won’t be in Meerbeke but in Ninove this year, the bare bones are the same. So the combination of the Wall of Geraardsbergen and the Bosberg before the run-in to Ninove are going to be the focal point of the 199.8 kilometres race. The iconic Wall is a cobbled speed breaker of 475 metres at 9.3% before the Bosberg serves a 980 metres climb at 5.8% (half of it cobbled). Between the top of Bosberg and the finish in Ninove are 12.8 flat kilometres.

Van Avermaet’s victories were in Ghent after a finale with the last climb 35 kilometres before the line. He succeeded Ian Stannard, who was victorious in the Omloop editions of 2014 and 2015. Other victors are Philippe Gilbert (2006, 2008), Sep Vanmarcke (2012) and Sebastian Langeveld (2011). Yet, there is only only rider who won Omloop Nieuwsblad with the redrawn finale – Michael Valgren.

Favourites 2019 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

***** Dylan van Baarle, Greg Van Avermaet, Michael Valgren
**** Philippe Gilbert, Michael Matthews, Niki Terpstra
*** Sep Vanmarcke, Zdenek Stybar, Jasper Stuyven, Tim Wellens
** Tiesj Benoot, Oliver Naesen, Wout Van Aert, Alexey Lutsenko
* Mike Teunissen, Edvald Boasson Hagen, Magnus Cort

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