02/03/19 - 11:45 AM
Finished
Road race - Men
0km
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Omloop Het Nieuwsblad • Stage1
avant-match

Road race - Men

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30
Tom Bennett
Highlights 
 
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What a performance by Zdenek Stybar. He did superbly well to get into that front group and then timed his winning attack to perfection, just after Van Avermaet had reeled in two other attacks to tire out the legs. The Belgian did finish second, but knew the race was gone going under the last km banner.

 
 

Stybar wins Omloop Het Nieuwsblad!

1km 

There's just 1km to go and Stybar looks like he has this. The chasing group seem to be tactically playing for second place...

2km 

It's Stybar who makes the break and he's got distance. The other four were slow to respond and will need to work together hard now to shut Stybar down. It's a slight surprise that he's the man to break away as his sprint is pretty strong, but Van Avermaet had worked quite hard just prior to the attack, giving him that opportunity.

4km 

This group is definitely staying around now and the riders are looking at each other nervously. Somebody has to make a run for it to avoid playing into Van Avermaet's hands.

7km 

The group are working together well and their lead is up to 34 seconds. They shouldn't get caught from here.

8km 

The surface is damp after some showers earlier in the day, but thankfully we haven't seen to many crashes (yet).

9km 

The lead is growing for this front quintet and it looks unlikely that the chasers will reel them back in. This has been a terrific day's racing so far and we're set up for a thrilling finish.

12km 

The leading group have 15 seconds and there are some decent finishers in their number. Greg van Avermaet is probably the favourite, but Zdenek Stybar has a strong finish too. Tim Willens, Alexey Lutsenko and Dylan Tenus make up that group.

13km 

Oss is dropped over the final climb and a bit of daylight is opened up between the leaders and the chasing pack. It looks like the winner will come from this group now.

 
15km 

There are five riders in the break with one more climb to come. This is a set up to be a thrilling finish.

17km 

Gilbert and Terpstra are trying to launch off the front. This could be the defining moment of the race.

17km 

The Kapelmuur tops out at almost 20% and the leaders are grinding up it.

20km 

With 20km to go the lead is just 17 seconds, but the trademark climb of the day is coming up and could blow the race wide open.

27km 

A new break has formed, but this one has a real chance. The lead is just 24 seconds, but there is some talent in their number, including in-form sprinter Matteo Trentin.

31km 

And, inside the space of just 1km, that gap is closed. The race becomes difficult to negotiate now, with tight turns, steep climbs and short sharp descents.

32km 

The climbs come thick and fast, with the leaders now on the Berendries. The gap is down to just 19 seconds though and it's hard to see them holding this for long.

36km 

The leaders have opened up a gap of 25 seconds, but they are just about to hit the Leberg, which reaches 13.8% in places, so expect changes to that gap very quickly.

43km 

Back to the men, and they've negotiated the Molenberg, which tops out at 14.2%, and a new leading group has formed.

 
0km 

Blaak has time to ease up and soak in the adulation over the last 200m of the course, raising her arms in celebration as she crosses the line. What a performance and what a deserved win!

2km 

Chantal Blaak is still opening up the gap. It's okay Chantal, you can ease off now, it's done and dusted!

3km 

Chantal Blaak is going to win this. She's opened up a big game and only a crash or a mechanical is likely to deny her victory. It's been an incredible show of power from the Dutch rider.

60km 

The timings were a bit off and as the peloton swallow up the first chasing group the gap to the leaders drops right down to 35 seconds and the main group are absolutely motoring.

64km 

In the men's race the chasing pack are closing in on the leading group.

11.5km 

Chantal Blaak has broken off the front after the Muur and has opened up quite a gap. She's got 30 seconds over the chasers, who took a while to get organised.

72km 
22.5km 

The women have just 22.5km to go and Anna van der Breggen is well-placed in the group to attack. The Muur is just minutes away and that should split the race wide open.

76km 

Wind is taking its toll and the men's peloton is splitting up in the aftermath of the Paddestraat. A chasing group has shut the gap to the leaders down to just three minutes.

 
 
 
91km 

A group of four riders are in the breakaway and have a six minute lead over the peloton. Alex Howes, Tom Devriendt, Roy Jans and Tom Wirtgen make up that quartet and they've been clear for much of the day's racing.

98km 

In fact, the women's race had to be neutralised about an hour ago after they got too close to catching the dawdling men. There was a 10 minute gap between the two races at the start, but the women's field are riding so aggressively that they shut that gap very quickly. All riders were held at a level crossing in Sint-Denijs-Boekel and restarted with the same timings.

100km 

The elite men are halfway through the day's racing and have already negotiated some decent bumps and plenty of cobbles. The women are a little further back up the road.

 
13:10 

Spring is here! You probably knew that already because of the spells of sunshine and daffodils peeping through the turf, but today is confirmation that spring is officially here. And that's because it's Omloop Het Nieuwsblad day - the start of two months of stunning classics racing. I don't know about you, but I'm excited!