Greg Van Avermaet won the editions of 2017 and 2016, but those races were held before the inclusion of the Muur van Geraardsbergen/Bosberg combo in the finale. This revived the much-loved climax of the old Tour of Flanders. Again, the combination of the Wall of Geraardsbergen and the Bosberg is going to be the focal point of the 200 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 kilometres of absolute flatness. Both in 2018 and in 2019 the race was decided with an attack inside the last 2 kilometers.
Van Avermaet’s Omloop victories were in Ghent after a less demanding finale with the last climb 35 kilometres out. The Olympic champion succeeded Ian Stannard, who was victorious in the Omloop editions of 2014 and 2015. Other winners of the opener of the Flemish cycling calendar are Philippe Gilbert (2006, 2008), Sep Vanmarcke (2012) and Sebastian Langeveld (2011).
Yet, there are only two riders who won Omloop Het Nieuwsblad with the redrawn finale, Michael Valgren (2018) and Zdenek Stybar (2019).
The season is still young, so it is hard to pinpoint absolute favourites. But obviously, we have the usual suspects in the Flemish Classics.
Favourites 2020 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad
*** Wout Van Aert, Greg Van Avermaet, Oliver Naesen
** Tim Wellens, Mike Teunissen, Jasper Stuyven, Sep Vanmarcke
* Dylan Teuns, Mads Pedersen, Zdenek Stybar, Philippe Gilbert, Kasper Asgreen