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Anna van der Breggen wins Omloop Het Nieuwsblad
She crosses the line arms aloft, with oodles of time to celebrate.
Omloop Het Nieuwsblad
Highlights: Anna van der Breggen wins Omloop Het Nieuwsblad women's race
Emma Norsgaard secures second place for Movistar from the group sprint, and receives a massive hug from her teammate Cecilia Uttrup Ludwig.
Looks like Amy Pieters hung on for third. Impressive stuff considering she spent the last 10km covering attacks.
She's won it. Barring a dog-in-road scenario, Anna van der Breggen is going to kick off her farewell season in the most perfect way possible.
5km to go – Race over?
Not to be all premature about it, but this is looking like van der Breggen has it sown up right now.
Brown continues to fight, but she can't get away from Pieters!
8km to go – Big attacks flying in the chase group
The chasers have realised this chasing effort is coming to nothing and we are seeing some big attempts to break free solo. Grace Brown is one of the attackers, but van der Breggen's teammate Amy Pieters is covering everything brilliantly.
12km to go – About 16 chasing
We have two small groups of about eight riders each that have just come back together. Can 16 riders bring back one?
Based on past performances of the might van der Breggen, you would have to say 'no'. She has 17 seconds.
14km – Brutal Bosberg
This looks excruciating. They have caught Vollering now, but her teammate Anna van der Breggen in the rainbow bands has gapped the rest of the field. This could be it, you know.
Lotte Kopecky is fighting hard just behind van der Breggen, with Elisa Longo Borghini just about hanging on too.
Hannah Barnes would be a decent shout if this went down to a sprint, but she was really suffering on the Bosberg.
15km to go – One last climb to come
We only have the Bosberg to come now. The group went over the Bosberg all together in the men's race earlier today, and it finished in a sprint.
There really aren't all that many places to force a gap between now and the final.
17km to go – Over we go!
Vollering just holds on over the summit of the Kapelmuur but she won't be solo for long. All the big hitters are now on her tail.
Van der Breggen is looking good, as is Longo Borghini. Lotte Kopecky of Liv in her Belgian national champion's jersey, is also in this elite chasing group.
18km to go – Vollering grinding
The Dutchwoman is looking like it's starting to hurt as she begins the cobbled climb to the most famous church in pro cycling, and now Elisa Longo Borghini has lit things up and is going solo in pursuit of Vollering.
Vollering's gap is melting away.
20km to go – The gap gets bigger
It's Liv Cycling doing their best to bring back Vollering but despite having three strong riders on the front of the peloton, the SD Worx rider's gap is only getting bigger. She now has half a minute and she has the Kapelmuur, the famous Muur van Geraardsbergen, in her sights.
25km to go – Vollering holding strong
Uttrup Ludwig was unable to get over to join Vollering and now she has a gap of 25 seconds on the second bunch of riders on the road. She is riding beautifully, and it is going to take something special to reel her back in.
None of the SD Worx riders in group two are helping with the chase, which obviously creates further uncertainty about whether they will be able to reel in Vollering.
30km to go – Demi Vollering brings the smash
She's doing a great job of making this race really hard. The leading group is being whittled down all the time and the 24-year-old has got a small gap off the front.
Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig fancies a bit of this move too as she sets off to bridge the gap.
35km to go – Sun is out in Flanders
Christine Majerus is leading the front group, now, as they continue to stick the boot into the chasing group containing those two danger women, Lizzie Deignan and Annemiek van Vleuten.
Deignan has teammate Ellen van DIjk with her which will add some much-needed chasing power to their efforts.
40km to go – van Vleuten and Deignan out the back
Wow, not sure what happened there, but AVV and Lizzie D were dropped and are battling hard to regain contact with the bunch.
It's no surprise then that Anna van der Breggen and her SD Worx team were absolutely hammering it on the front a few moments ago, hoping to prevent these two impressive riders from getting back into contention.
43km to go – Cream to the top
As the race heads up the Molberg, we're seeing an elite group of riders moving to the front. It's not quite breaking up yet, but it's very strung-out.
Anna van der Breggen is looking very strong in the rainbow bands, with Amanda Spratt (Bike Exchange) and Hannah Barnes (Canyon / SRAM) also prominent.
45km to go – The early break of the day is caught
Just a trio of attackers at the very start this morning. They built a lead of almost six minutes at one stage, but they are going to be swallowed back up in a matter or moments now.
A great first showing of the swishy new jersey of Drops Le Col, via Lizzie Bennett.
47km to go – Omloop agogo!
Sorry we're late with the live blog. We had some connection difficulties that delayed our getting over onto the women's race.
I am here now and I am fascinated to see how this women's race plays out.
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When Stannard outfoxed the Wolfpack and upset the odds at Omloop in 2015
Six kilometres from the finish, the leaders pass over the Schelde river. The three Quick-Step riders still have to solve a problem named Stannard.
"How do they play it tactically?" Hatch mused in the commentary box. "Are they content to just ride Ian Stannard in? He's going to be the freshest of the four riders. Pretty sure about that. He's the guy that's done no work at the back."
For Stannard's part, it was hard to pick out one rider over the others; he had to keep tabs on all three. "They all ride for Quick-Step,” he explains. “They all live in that territory. They all want to win that race. They're all dangermen. They were some of the best riders in the world. Two of them won Roubaix, the other one's been up there in Flanders."
As it happened, it was Quick-Step's best sprinter – the apparent ace up their sleeve – who made the first big move. Boonen, the four-time Paris-Roubaix and triple Tour of Flanders winner, went with 4.6km remaining – to the delight of Hatch.
"Oh, here goes Boonen! Here goes Tom Boonen! He's not waiting for the sprint today – and Stannard will have to go with him. It's no use looking around, Ian Stannard, he is going to have to go. And I'm not sure what he has here. Boonen goes alone and Stannard is forced to chase. And Boonen has this win on a plate if he can ride it away."
But riding it away is exactly what Boonen failed to do. Deep into his illustrious career and even deeper into the 70th edition of a race he had never before won, the Belgian clearly didn't fancy his chances in a slugfest against Stannard. Perhaps mindful of how the Briton despatched Van Avermaet a year before, as well as the fading zip in his own 34-year-old legs, Boonen went for broke.
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Head here to read the latest Re-Cycle from Felix Lowe on Ian Stannard's heroic title defence at Omloop 2015, or listen to the podcast on all major platforms now.
How to watch the event
Omloop Het Nieuwsblad 2021 is live on Eurosport.
You can watch the race unfold on eurosport.co.uk and the Eurosport app from 1pm GMT. You can download the Eurosport app for iOS and Android now.
Omloop Het Nieuwsblad
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