The first European WorldTour race in the season is Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. The riders set off in the same place as last year, namely Ghent, and the finish is in Ninove. The route is similar to the 2018 edition, when Michael Valgren took the win with a late attack.
The climbing gets underway at the Leberg. The 950 metres hill at 4.2% is crested at kilometer 41, just after the first cobbles of the day at the Haaghoek. The second stretch of pavé appears after almost 70 kilometres at the Huisepontweg. Another 5 kilometres and the road goes vertical again – albeit short – on Den Ast.
The Katteberg looms halfway through the race. After the cobbles of the Holleweg and (again) the Haaghoek the Leberg makes its second appearance at kilometer 110. The route continues to the Paddestraat for 2.3 kilometres of pavé.
Surely, the battle is set to intensify in the last 80 kilometres with another eight hills and four cobbled sectors on the menu. The riders crest Rekelberg (800 metres at 4%), Valkenberg (540 metres at 8.1%) and Wolvenberg (645 metres at 7.9%) before the cobbles of the Ruiterstraat, Kerkgate and Jagerij follow in rapid succession. The Molenberg (463 meter at 7%) leads to a third stint on the cobbles of the Haaghoek before the Leberg pops up again. Shortly after its summit the route takes in the combo Berendries (940 metres at 7%) and Elverenberg/Vossenhol (1.3 kilometres at 3.6%). That last hill is paved with 650 metres of cobblestones.
Still 27 kilometres left to race with an interesting finale intensifying at the foot of the Wall of Geraardsbergen. The renowned cobbled climb is 475 metres at 9.3% with steepest ramps at almost 20%. Without delay the finale continues to the Bosberg – 980 metres at 5.8% and almost half of it is cobbled. The last 12.8 kilometres to the finish in Ninove are played out on the flat.
Another interesting read: results/race report Omloop Het Nieuwsblad 2019.
Omloop Het Nieuwsblad 2019: route, profiles, more
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Muur van Geraardsbergen interactive
streetview Muur van Geraardsbergen
Muur van Geraardsbergen at strava