Omloop Het Nieuwsblad: Marianne Vos takes comeback victory in women's race

Dutch rider wins Omloop for the first time, outsprinting Lotte Kopecky and Elisa Longo Borghini from a select group

Clock16:23, Saturday 24th February 2024
Marianne Vos won Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, which she started for the first time on Saturday

© Alex Broadway / Velo Collection via Getty Images

Marianne Vos won Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, which she started for the first time on Saturday

Marianne Vos (Visma-Lease a Bike) won Omloop Het Nieuwsblad for the first time on Saturday, outsprinting a group of four to win the opening Classic in her first participation.

The Dutch rider beat Lotte Kopecky (SD Worx-Protime) and Elisa Longo Borghini (Lidl-Trek) on the line as a four-rider group went to the finish in an exciting finale.

Shirin van Anrooij (Lidl-Trek) took fourth after making several attempts to attack the group on the way to the finish.

With 34km to go, Elisa Longo Borghini launched a move on the cobbles that began to open up the race, overtaking the remainder of the break and forcing an elite group into the chase behind.

It was over the Muur van Geraardsbergen where the selection was really made, though, with Kopecky, Vos and Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM) and making a small selection and chasing down Longo Borghini, along with her Lidl-Trek teammate Shirin van Anrooij, as Niewiadoma dropped away.

These four riders tried relentlessly to attack each other in the finale, but no one could get away and it came down to a sprint to the line, with Vos picking up her first victory of the year after a difficult 12 months.

"To win a race like this, well it was my debut here in Nieuwsblad but still of course you want to give it your all," Vos said at the finish. "I couldn’t believe that it would be enough for the win today, but I’m really really happy."

For a rider who has won 251 UCI races, there are very few that Vos hasn't won – let alone never started – but Saturday's win ticks off yet another victory for the 36-year-old who has one of the most complete palmarès' in the sport.

A change of script on Opening Weekend

The day began under grey Belgian skies with a breakaway of three heading up the road including Rotem Gafinovitz (Hess Cycling Team), Ana Vitória Magalhães (Bepink-Bongioanni) and Marieke de Groot (Proximus - Cyclis CT). They were joined later by Marieke Meert (VolkerWessels) and Maaike Coljé (Arkéa-B&B) to form the main breakaway of the day as the peloton got worn down from the relentless climbs and twists of the Flemish Ardennes behind.

The situation remained like this for some time, with no team wanting to take things up too early, and riders willing to let the terrain do the job of whittling the bunch down before the action really kicked off.

The final began in earnest with the long-range attack from Longo Borghini with 35km left to race to kick off the finale before the final climbs of the race. Borghini made quick work of bridging to the remaining breakaway riders before quickly striking out on her own to build her advantage before the final two climbs of the Muur and Bosberg.

With Borghini forcing the issue, SD Worx-Protime had to play a more defensive role than they are used to, with Demi Vollering taking major pulls on the front of a diminished peloton before the Muur van Geraardsbergen to try and get Kopecky and Lorena Wiebes within striking distance of a flying Longo Borghini.

The anticipation from Lidl-Trek was rewarded once the race crested the Muur, as Kopecky and Vos dropped everyone except Shrin van Anrooij on the jarring cobblestones up to the famous chapel on the top of the Muur. Since Lidl-Trek had two riders in the final selection of four that crested the Bosberg together, the numbers advantage paid dividends as the pair were able to play the attacking game on the flat run into the line in Ninove.

For 10km it was attack after attack from Van Anrooij and Longo Borghini as the two desperately tried to tire the two fast finishers. Nevertheless, with the combined experience and power of Vos and Kopecky, it was always likely to be settled in the sprint as the two took turns marking the Lidl-Trek riders.

In the end, it was Van Anrooij who brought the leaders under the final kilometre banner with the hopes of the team pinned on Longo Borghini’s sprint. Vos got the jump with 200 metres to go, took the quickest line along the barriers and held off Kopecky to take her first win of the season and announced herself as a rider to be reckoned with during this Classics season.

Race Results

1

nl flag

VOS Marianne

Team Visma | Lease a Bike

3H 27' 15"

2

be flag

KOPECKY Lotte

Team SD Worx-Protime

"

3

it flag

LONGO BORGHINI Elisa

Lidl-Trek

"

4

nl flag

VAN ANROOIJ Shirin

Lidl-Trek

"

5

nl flag

DE JONG Thalita

Lotto Dstny Ladies

+ 1' 08"

6

nl flag

VOLLERING Demi

Team SD Worx-Protime

"

7

pl flag

NIEWIADOMA Katarzyna

CANYON//SRAM Racing

"

8

nl flag

PIETERSE Puck

Fenix-Deceuninck

"

9

nl flag

WIEBES Lorena

Team SD Worx-Protime

+ 1' 53"

10

it flag

BALSAMO Elisa

Lidl-Trek

+ 2' 08"

Provided by FirstCycling

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