Omloop Het Nieuwsblad 2024

The Belgian Classics officially kick off with the first race of 'Opening Weekend'

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Omloop Het Nieuwsblad
  • Dates 24 Feb
  • Race Length 202 kms
  • Start Gent
  • Finish Ninove
  • Race Category Elite Men

Published: 20 February, 2024

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad 2024 overview

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad is the first of the two races which make up ‘Opening Weekend’ in Belgium, which kicks off the Spring Classics, with Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne making up the second part of the men's curtain-raiser weekend.

Widely seen as the first big crown of the season, Omloop has an honour roll that rivals the Monuments that will come later in the year. It’s also a great rehearsal for the upcoming cobbled Classics as it features many of the famous hills and cobblestones of the Tour of Flanders.

This year the peloton will depart from Gent on Saturday, 24 February. Having come from the warm and sunny races in Australia, Colombia, Spain and the Middle East at the beginning of the year, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad will be a shock to the system for many riders. In late February, Belgium is still firmly in the grips of winter. In fact, on two occasions, 1986 and 2004, the organisers had to cancel the race due to heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures.

Looking at the previous winners of the race, which include Eddy Merckx, Roger De Vlaeminck and Peter Van Petegem, it’s clear to see why Omloop Het Nieuwsblad is such a prestigious event on the calendar. This is a major race for the Classics riders, as well as an opportunity to establish some early-season form ahead of the bigger races and cobbled Monuments later in the year.

That said, very few winners of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad have gone on to have success in the cobbled Monuments in the same season, especially in recent years. Since 2000, Johan Museeuw and Greg Van Avermaet are the only two riders to have won Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and then won either the Tour of Flanders or Paris-Roubaix in the same season.

This season, that could once again be the case as the Tour of Flanders favourite and last year’s Paris-Roubaix winner Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Deceuninck) will not be on the start line of Omloop. With his absence, all eyes will be on Visma-Lease a Bike who will have two former winners on their roster in Wout van Aert and Dylan van Baarle. The young Belgian Arnaud De Lie (Lotto Dstny) will also be highly touted as the local crowds will look for the next Belgian Classics superstar to emerge even if Van Aert is still very much in his prime.

A women's Omloop Het Nieuwsblad also takes place on the same day, on a slightly shortened course but with many of the same climbs and cobbles.

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad 2024 key information

When is Omloop Het Nieuwsblad 2024? The Omloop Het Nieuwsblad one-day race will run on Saturday, 24 February.

Where does Omloop Het Nieuwsblad 2024 take place? Omloop Het Nieuwsblad will take place in East Flanders along many of the same roads that have been used in the Tour of Flanders.

Who won Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in 2023? The 2023 edition of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad was won by Dylan van Baarle ahead of Arnaud De Lie and Christophe Laporte.

When did Omloop Het Nieuwsblad start? Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, which was originally called Omloop van Vlaanderen before changing its name to Omloop Het Volk in 1946 and ultimately Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in late 2009, ran its first edition in the final days of World War II in 1945.

Who won the first Omloop Het Nieuwsblad? Jean Bogaerts of Belgium won the first edition of the race in 1945.

Who has the most wins at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad? Three Belgian riders have three wins at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad: Peter Van Petegem, Joseph Bruyère and Ernest Sterckx

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad 2024 route: a mini Tour of Flanders test

The 2024 Omloop het Nieuwsblad will once again take on the now-familiar 202km trek from Gent to Ninove, criss-crossing the short climbs and cobblestones of East Flanders before finishing with the iconic Muur van Geraardsbergen and Bosberg one-two punch that formed the finale for the Tour of Flanders for so many years.

Omloop might take on much of the same terrain as the Tour of Flanders, but it is quite a bit shorter than ‘De Ronde’, with 202km on tap for the first Classic of the year and not the 260km Monument length. It also skips the combination of the Paterberg and Oude Kwaremont and instead takes on the lesser heralded climbs of the Leburg, Wolvenburg, Molenburg and Bendires before the end game of the Muur and Bosberg.

All in all, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad has 12 climbs and 14 total cobbled sectors adding up to 1,600 climbing metres. While that number might seem light for a 202km day, it is all packed into the tiny roads and sharp turns that will make the race stretch and compress like an accordion until it splinters towards the end of the race.

Since Omloop has moved its finish to Ninove, the race has seen a mixture of attacking finals and reduced group sprints. A big determinant of the final outcome will be the wind, with the final run to the finish a flat, one-directional run to the east. An attack on the final two climbs can go the distance if there is a tailwind. If it is a headwind, a select sprint finish is more likely.

Find the full route here.

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad 2024 contenders

Find the full start list here.

As mentioned earlier, Mathieu van der Poel will not be racing Omloop, and Tadej Pogačar, last year’s Tour of Flanders winner, will skip the cobbled Classics entirely to focus on the Giro d’Italia. This leaves only Wout van Aert of last year’s Classics ‘big three’ on the start line.

As a result, Van Aert goes into Omloop as the favourite. Moreover, his team at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad is close to the same as the squad that will be lining up at the Tour of Flanders, with last year’s winner Dylan van Baarle and other potential winners in Christophe Laporte, Tiesj Benoot and Matteo Jorgenson all backing up the Belgian. With a team that strong, Visma-Lease a Bike will be the team to beat at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.

Nevertheless, with the prestige that Omloop Het Nieuwsblad holds, the start list beyond Visma-Lease a Bike is stacked full of big names hoping to start their Classic campaigns with a win. Arnaud De Lie (Lotto Dstny) is one of the top names on the list, with the young Belgian finishing a strong second last season. Another Belgian who has done well at Omloop is Tim Wellens who will be the leading light for UAE Team Emirates for opening weekend and the rest of the Classics season.

Biniam Girmay (Intermarché-Wanty) will be hoping to regain his Classics form from 2022 and will certainly be a rider to look out for if it comes back to a sprint into Ninove, as will Jonathan Milan who will be the leader for Lidl-Trek as Mads Pedersen will skip Opening Weekend to focus on winning a Monument later in the spring.

The attacking contingent will be headlined by the ever-ambitious Matej Mohorič (Bahrain Victorious), Julian Alaphilippe and Kasper Asgreen (Soudal Quick-Step), Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers) and Stefan Küng (Groupama FDJ).

Which teams are racing the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad 2024?

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad is a WorldTour race and thus will have a full complement of WorldTour teams, last year’s top three ranked ProTour teams and three wildcard ProTour teams making up the full peloton of 24 teams of seven riders.

WorldTour teams:

  • Alpecin-Deceuninck
  • Arkéa-B&B Hotels
  • Astana Qazaqstan
  • Bahrain Victorious
  • Bora-Hansgrohe
  • Cofidis
  • Decathlon-AG2R La Mondiale
  • EF Education-EasyPost
  • Groupama-FDJ
  • Ineos Grenadiers
  • Intermarché-Wanty
  • Lidl-Trek
  • Movistar Team
  • Soudal Quick-Step
  • dsm-firmenich PostNL
  • Jayco AlUla
  • Visma-Lease a Bike
  • UAE Team Emirates

ProTour teams:

  • Lotto Dstny
  • Israel-Premier Tech
  • Uno-X Mobility
  • Flanders-Baloise
  • Bingoal WB
  • Q36.5 Pro Cycling

What happened at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in 2023?

Van Baarle attacked with around 40km to go after the initial selection was made on the Molenberg and the breakaway had been caught. He was joined at first by Jonathan Milan (Bahrain Victorious), Florian Vermeersch (Lotto Dstny) and Matis Louvel (Arkéa-Samsic), but once he hit the Muur he had dispatched his breakaway companions and was solo off the front ahead of a select chase group including Arnaud De Lie, Matej Mohorič, Tim Wellens and, crucially, Van Baarle’s teammate Laporte.

With Laporte disrupting the chase in the second group, Van Baarle held strong at the head of affairs and took his first win for his then-new team on the very first day of his season. Behind, the chasing group got caught by the remaining peloton, however, De Lie and Laporte were still faster than the rest and finished second and third respectively in the sprint to the line. 

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad previous winners

  • 2023 Dylan van Baarle
  • 2022 Wout Van Aert
  • 2021 Davide Ballerini
  • 2020 Jasper Stuyven
  • 2019 Zdenek Stybar
  • 2018 Michael Valgren
  • 2017 Greg Van Avermaet
  • 2016 Greg Van Avermaet
  • 2015 Ian Stannard
  • 2014 Ian Stannard
  • 2013 Luca Paolini
  • 2012 Sep Vanmarcke
  • 2011 Sebastian Langeveld
  • 2010 Juan Antonio Flecha
  • 2009 Thor Hushovd
  • 2008 Philippe Gilbert
  • 2007 Filippo Pozzato
  • 2006 Philippe Gilbert
  • 2005 Nick Nuyens
  • 2004 No race due to snow
  • 2003 Johan Museeuw
  • 2002 Peter Van Petegem
  • 2001 Michele Bartoli
  • 2000 Johan Museeuw
  • 1999 Frank Vandenbroucke
  • 1998 Peter Van Petegem
  • 1997 Peter Van Petegem
  • 1996 Tom Steels
  • 1995 Franco Ballerini
  • 1994 Wilfried Nelissen
  • 1993 Wilfried Nelissen
  • 1992 Johan Capiot
  • 1991 Andreas Kappes
  • 1990 Johan Capiot
  • 1989 Etienne De Wilde
  • 1988 Ronny Van Holen
  • 1987 Teun van Vliet
  • 1986 No race due to snow
  • 1985 Eddy Planckaert
  • 1984 Eddy Planckaert
  • 1983 Alfons De Wolf
  • 1982 Alfons De Wolf
  • 1981 Jan Raas
  • 1980 Joseph Bruyère
  • 1979 Roger De Vlaeminck
  • 1978 Freddy Maertens
  • 1977 Freddy Maertens
  • 1976 Willem Peeters
  • 1975 Joseph Bruyère
  • 1974 Joseph Bruyère
  • 1973 Eddy Merckx
  • 1972 Frans Verbeeck
  • 1971 Eddy Merckx
  • 1970 Frans Verbeeck
  • 1969 Roger De Vlaeminck
  • 1968 Herman Van Springel
  • 1967 Willy Vekemans
  • 1966 Jo de Roo
  • 1965 Noël De Pauw
  • 1964 Frans Melckenbeek
  • 1963 René Van Meenen
  • 1962 Robert De Middeleir
  • 1961 Arthur De Cabooter
  • 1960 No race held
  • 1959 Seamus Elliott
  • 1958 Joseph Planckaert
  • 1957 Norbert Kerckhove
  • 1956 Ernest Sterckx
  • 1955 Lode Anthonis
  • 1954 Karel De Baere
  • 1953 Ernest Sterckx
  • 1952 Ernest Sterckx
  • 1951 Jean Bogaerts
  • 1950 André Declerck
  • 1949 André Declerck
  • 1948 Sylvain Grysolle
  • 1947 Albert Sercu
  • 1946 André Pieters
  • 1945 Jean Bogaerts

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