Photo: © ispa photo
Racing is back and in true force! The ‘first’ race of the season, The Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, just finished today with Spaniard Juan Antonio Flecha taking the win. Formerly called the Omloop Het Volk (the people’s race) this race un-officially kicks of the start of the season in Northern Europe and the classics portion of the calendar up in Flanders. Until this point, most races are in the southern hemisphere, the middle east, or tourist destinations on Mediterranean islands. Now, it’s all mud and rain and cobbles with the Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne up next tomorrow!
Flecha powered his way to the solo win and is joined on the podium by the seemingly always second place German/Aussie Heinrich Haussler and American Tyler Farrer, who emerged first from the sprint for third. Flecha launched a massive attack with some 35km to go and put a huge gap in the peleton that no one could follow. Meanwhile at the back, trains were splintering those trying to catch up after flats, as the pelton is allowed through by the police, but small groups have to stop and wait at flashing red lights. Ah yes, this is racing in Belgium and I’m glad it’s finally here.
The women’s race was won by none other than Swede Emma Johannson riding for the Red Sun Cycling Team. She was joined on the podium by Liesbet de Vocht and Grace Verbeke.
1 Juan Antonio Flecha (Spa) Team Sky
2 Heinrich Haussler (Ger) Cervelo Test Team
3 Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Transitions
4 Luca Paolini (Ita) Acqua & Sapone
5 Marcel Sieberg (Ger) HTC-Team Columbia
6 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Team Sky
7 Niko Eeckhout (Bel) An Post-Sean Kelly
8 Bernhard Eisel (Aut) HTC – Team Columbia
9 Tom Veelers (Ned) Skil-Shimano
10 Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Team Katusha
1 Emma Johansson (Swe) Red Sun Cycling Team
2 Liesbet de Vocht (Ned) Nederland Bloeit
3 Grace Verbeke (Bel) Lotto Ladies
Photo: © Benson