The season is still young, so it is hard to pinpoint absolute favourites. Quite a number of riders are beginning their 2022 campaign on the Flemish roads. Who’s on form, who’s got work to do? Yet, given his short but intense ciclo-cross season – winning nine our of ten races – Wout van Aert is the man to watch.
The finale of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad is a carbon-copy of the old Tour of Flanders. Usuaccly, only a select group survives the combination of the Wall of Geraardsbergen and the Bosberg inside the last 20 kilometres, although last year saw a different scenario being rolled out.
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). After the Bosberg there are 12.8 entirely flat kilometres left to race.
Last year’s Omloop unfolded in atypical manner when a peloton of about 60 riders crossed the Bosberg. Davide Ballerini powered to victory in the ensuing sprint.
There are six former winners at the start om the Omloop: Philippe Gilbert (2006, 2008), Sep Vanmarcke (2012), Greg Van Avermaet (2016, 2017), Michael Valgren (2018), Zdenek Stybar (2019), and Jasper Stuyven (2020). The last three won the opener of the Flemish Opening Weekend with the redrawn finale.
Favourites 2022 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad
**** Wout van Aert, Kasper Asgreen, Tom Pidcock
*** Ethan Hayter, Sonny Colbrelli, Jasper Stuyven
** Peter Sagan, Gianni Moscon, Yves Lampaert
* Greg Van Avermaet, Mike Teunissen, Michael Valgren, Florian Sénéchal