Omloop Het Nieuwsblad - Live report

Barry Ryan
Zdenek Stybar wins the 2019 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad 2020 hub page

Opening Weekend 2020 preview

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad 2020 elite men’s start list

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad 2020 elite women’s start list

167 tests come back negative for Coronavirus at UAE Tour

Track Worlds: Ganna defends pursuit title

The peloton has gathered at the Kuipke velodrome in Ghent for the start of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, the first race on the Belgian calendar and the first true test for the Classics contenders this spring. The roll out is at 11.35 local time, with the peloton due to hit kilometre zero at 11.45.

It's currently 11 degrees and overcast in Ghent, but the Omloop peloton can expect to be buffeted by wind and rain before they arrive in Ninove this afternoon, by which point the temperature will have dropped to single figures.

There are 13 hellingen crammed into the 200km of today's race. The running order is as follows:

1 Leberg 42km

2 Den Ast 76km

3 Katteberg 101km

4 Leberg 111km

5 Rekelberg 126km

6 Valkenberg 134km

7 Wolvenberg 145km

8 Molenberg 158km

9 Leberg 165km

10 Berendries 169km

11 Elverenberg-Vossenhol 172km

12 Muur-Kapelmuur 183km

13 Bosberg 187km

There are also nine further sections of cobbles, including three passages over the jarring stretch at Haaghoek. The running order is:

1 Haaghoek 39km

2 Huisepontweg 70km

3 Holleweg 102km

4 Haaghoek 108km

5 Paddestraat 117km

6 Ruiterstraat 145km

7 Kerkgate 149km

8 Jagerij 151km

9 Haaghoek 162km

Patrick Fletcher has compiled a list of some of the dangermen at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad today and Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne tomorrow. Read his list of the 10 riders to watch here.

Wout van Aert in Gent ahead of the 2020 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

Greg Van Avermaet has won Omloop on two occasions, in 2016 and 2017, and placed second on two more, in 2014 and 2019. The Belgian has finished in the top 6 in seven of the last eight editions of the race, and it would be a surprise if he is not hugely involved at the business end again this afternoon. "Winning is a different thing – there are lots of factors in play there, but it's most important that you can play your cards in the final," Van Avermaet told Cyclingnews at the Volta ao Algarve. Daniel Ostanek has the full story here.

Belgian Greg Van Avermaet of CCC Team pictured in action at de Paddestraat during the reconnaissance of the track ahead of the 75th edition of the oneday cycling race Omloop Het Nieuwsblad Wednesday 26 February 2020 BELGA PHOTO DAVID STOCKMAN Photo by DAVID STOCKMANBELGA MAGAFP via Getty Images

The peloton is making its way through the neutralised zone, with a slight but persistent drizzle falling over Ghent. 

There is one non-starter to report, with Alexis Gougeard (AG2R La Mondiale) a late withdrawal.

-200km

The peloton reaches kilometre zero and the Belgian cycling season is officially underway.

-196km

There is a flurry of early attacks, but as yet, nobody has succeeded in escaping the clutches of the peloton. It appears that the wind and consequent risk of early echelons has everyone on the highest alert in these opening kilometres.

And at that, a break does begin to take shape… Senne Leysen (Alpecin-Fenix), Mathijs Paasschens (Bingoal - Wallonie Bruxelles) and Lluís Mas (Movistar) have opened a small gap over the peloton.

-192km

This trio has a lead of 10 seconds over the peloton but it doesn't look as though they've been granted their freedom just yet.

Manuele Boaro (Astana) and Matteo Jorgensen (Movistar) have bridged across to the escapees. This added horsepower could give the move fresh impetus. 

-198km

Break:

Senne Leysen (Alpecin-Fenix), Mathijs Paasschens (Bingoal - Wallonie Bruxelles), Lluís Mas (Movistar), Manuele Boaro (Astana) and Matteo Jorgensen (Movistar)

Peloton at 0:30

Kenneth Vanbilsen (Cofidis) is in lone pursuit of the five-man break, but this seems a rather ambitious endeavour. He is 55 seconds behind the escapees, while the peloton is now at 1:10.

-185km

Senne Leysen (Alpecin-Fenix), Mathijs Paasschens (Bingoal - Wallonie Bruxelles), Lluís Mas (Movistar), Manuele Boaro (Astana) and Matteo Jorgensen (Movistar) are 1:05 ahead of the lone chaser Kenneth Vanbilsen (Cofidis), while the peloton has relented and is now at 2:20.

Away from Opening Weekend, the headlines have been dominated in recent days by the cancellation of the final two stages of the UAE Tour due to an apparent coronavirus scare. The entire race - riders, supporting staff, organisation and media - have been placed under precautionary quarantine since Thursday evening, but there has been precious little by way of firm information provided to those in Abu Dhabi by the local authorities. One of the few official pronouncements arrived last night, with a statement from the Abu Dhabi Department of Health confirming that that 167 tests conducted on people possibly exposed to Covid-19 while at the UAE Tour have come back negative. Read more here.

A view from inside the Crowne Plaza hotel, which is on lockdown due to fears of the Corona Virus, looking towards the hotel where cyclists from the UAE Tour are being held

Vanbilsen has given up his forlorn pursuit, while the peloton's pace has slowed considerably since those frantic opening kilometres. The break's lead is widening accordingly.

-177km

Break:

Senne Leysen (Alpecin-Fenix), Mathijs Paasschens (Bingoal - Wallonie Bruxelles), Lluís Mas (Movistar), Manuele Boaro (Astana) and Matteo Jorgensen (Movistar)

Peloton at 4:00

A mechanical problem in the break for Lluís Mas (Movistar), who gets a quick bike change and then chases back up to his companions.

The escapees are not far from the first sector of cobbles today, the first of three passages over the Haaghoek. That is followed promptly by the first of the race's 13 bergs, the Leberg. 

-165km

Senne Leysen (Alpecin-Fenix), Mathijs Paasschens (Bingoal - Wallonie Bruxelles), Lluís Mas (Movistar), Manuele Boaro (Astana) and Matteo Jorgensen (Movistar) continue to augment their advantage over the peloton, which now stands at 7:10.

-161km

The CCC team of Greg Van Avermaet and Matteo Trentin hit the front of the peloton once the gap hit 7:30 and they are now working to reduce the break's advantage.

The break covered 39.1km in the first hour of racing.

-160km

The five-man break has clattered over the cobbles at Haaghoek with a lead of 6:30 over a peloton that is currently led by CCC Team. The Leberg awaits.

As if to herald Omloop's entry into the cobbles and hills of the Flemish Ardennes, the heavens have opened and sheets of heavy rain are falling.

-158km

The escapees have scaled the Leberg for the first time. They will come back here twice more before the afternoon is out. 

Situation

Break:

Senne Leysen (Alpecin-Fenix), Mathijs Paasschens (Bingoal - Wallonie Bruxelles), Lluís Mas (Movistar), Manuele Boaro (Astana) and Matteo Jorgensen (Movistar)

Peloton at 6:30

Jonathan Dibben (Lotto Soudal) has abandoned the race. The break's lead, meanwhile, has been pared back to 5:30 after the first Haaghoek-Leberg combination of the day.

-149km

Trek-Segafredo have also committed riders to the head of the peloton. Jasper Stuyven, Edward Theuns and world champion Mads Pedersen form their trio of leaders this afternoon. The break's lead is still 5:30.

Yoann Offredo (Wanty-Gobert) is the next rider to abandon the race. Conditions are increasingly miserable. 

-140km

At the start in Ghent, Zdenek Stybar (Deceuninck-QuickStep) revisited his victory of twelve months ago. "It's my most beautiful win. I love the course and I'm proud to be wearing number 1 today," he said. But will he be number 1 in Deceuninck-QuickStep's notoriously fluid hierarchy. Bob Jungels, Kasper Asgreen, Yves Lampaert and perhaps Florian Senechal are all potential winners for Patrick Lefevere's squad.

The wind howls, the rain falls and the break continues to navigate these treacherous conditions with a lead of 5:30 over the peloton. The five men up front are: Senne Leysen (Alpecin-Fenix), Mathijs Paasschens (Bingoal - Wallonie Bruxelles), Lluís Mas (Movistar), Manuele Boaro (Astana) and Matteo Jorgensen (Movistar).

There's a shade under 80km left in the women's Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, where a reduced peloton is at the head of the race. It's the first Classic of the women's season and Kirsten Frattini has a comprehensive preview of the spring calendar here.

-135km

Break:

Senne Leysen (Alpecin-Fenix), Mathijs Paasschens (Bingoal - Wallonie Bruxelles), Lluís Mas (Movistar), Manuele Boaro (Astana) and Matteo Jorgensen (Movistar)

Peloton at 5:00

Dylan Teuns' early season form has many placing him among the contenders. He placed 5th last year in what was his only cobbled Classic of 2019. He has signalled his ambition by pencilling in more Flemish races to his calendar this time out, but Oliver Naesen (AG2R La Mondiale) did not seem utterly convinced by his prospects when speaking to Het Nieuwsblad this week. "Super, hey. Put the finish of the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on top of the Berendries and he is my favorite number one," Naesen said. "But the finish is in Meerbeke. ”

AG2R La Mondiale’s Oliver Naesen at the 2020 Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana

-130km

Danger here. The peloton swings into a stretch of cross-tailwind and has begun to split into echelons...

For now, 10 seconds separate the front two echelons of this splintered peloton. The split took shape just prior to the cobbles at Huisepontweg. 

The injection of pace, meanwhile, has seen the break's advantage slashed to four minutes. 

A mechanical problem at a most inopportune moment for Kasper Asgreen (Deceuninck-QuickStep)... The gap between the two parts of the peloton has stretched out to 24 seconds.

-125km

The five escapees - Senne Leysen (Alpecin-Fenix), Mathijs Paasschens (Bingoal - Wallonie Bruxelles), Lluís Mas (Movistar), Manuele Boaro (Astana) and Matteo Jorgensen (Movistar) - approach the foot of the day's second hill, Den Ast, with a lead of 4 minutes over a peloton that has splint into two distinct groups.

There are just 14 riders in the echelon that formed off the front of the main peloton. They are 2:40 down on the five leaders and 30 seconds ahead of the rest of the bunch.

-122km

Break: 

Senne Leysen (Alpecin-Fenix), Mathijs Paasschens (Bingoal - Wallonie Bruxelles), Lluís Mas (Movistar), Manuele Boaro (Astana) and Matteo Jorgensen (Movistar)

Peloton 1 (14 riders) at 2:40

Peloton 2 at 3:10

Peloton 3 at 3:45

There are 16 riders in the echelon that forged clear of the peloton: Wout van Aert, Pasal Eenkhoorn (Jumbo-Visma), Zdenek Stybar, Tim Declercq (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal), Mads Pedersen, Ryan Mullen, Jasper Stuyven, Alex Kirsch (Trek-Segafredo), Ian Stannard, Owain Doull, Luke Rowe, Ben Swift (Ineos), Lukas Postlberger (Bora-Hansgrohe), Nils Politt (Israel Start-Up Nation) and Nils Eekhoff (Sunweb). 

-117km

Break: 

Senne Leysen (Alpecin-Fenix), Mathijs Paasschens (Bingoal - Wallonie Bruxelles), Lluís Mas (Movistar), Manuele Boaro (Astana) and Matteo Jorgensen (Movistar)

 

Chasers at 2:40

Wout van Aert, Pasal Eenkhoorn (Jumbo-Visma), Zdenek Stybar, Tim Declercq (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal), Mads Pedersen, Ryan Mullen, Jasper Stuyven, Alex Kirsch (Trek-Segafredo), Ian Stannard, Owain Doull, Luke Rowe, Ben Swift (Ineos), Lukas Postlberger (Bora-Hansgrohe), Nils Politt (Israel Start-Up Nation) and Nils Eekhoff (Sunweb)

Peloton at 3:10

Cofidis and CCC are riding in the main peloton in a bid to bring this move back, but there is considerable firepower. Trek-Segafredo have four men up there, while Ineos have five. 

That 16-man group is drawing ever close to the five escapees. 50 seconds the gap, while the rest of the bunch is 1:35 behind the five leaders.

-110km

Break: 

Senne Leysen (Alpecin-Fenix), Mathijs Paasschens (Bingoal - Wallonie Bruxelles), Lluís Mas (Movistar), Manuele Boaro (Astana) and Matteo Jorgensen (Movistar)

 

Chasers at 0:40

Wout van Aert, Pasal Eenkhoorn (Jumbo-Visma), Zdenek Stybar, Tim Declercq (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal), Mads Pedersen, Ryan Mullen, Jasper Stuyven, Alex Kirsch (Trek-Segafredo), Ian Stannard, Owain Doull, Luke Rowe, Ben Swift (Ineos), Lukas Postlberger (Bora-Hansgrohe), Nils Politt (Israel Start-Up Nation) and Nils Eekhoff (Sunweb)

Peloton at 1:15

-107km

The Ineos quintet are committed to propelling this 16-man move. They have closed to within 34 seconds of the escapees, but the peloton appears to be closing in on Rowe, Pedersen, Stybar, Van Aert et al.

A mechanical issue for Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) in the main peloton. He gets a quick bike change and now faces into a tough, lone pursuit. 

-104km

The Van Aert-Stybar-Pedersen-Rowe group has closed to within 16 seconds of the five leaders, but the bunch is almost upon them. It looks as though this race will come back together, perhaps even before the day's next climb, the Katteberg.

A crash in the main peloton. Casper Pedersen (Sunweb) and Marcel Sieberg (Bahrain-McLaren) are among the riders to go down after a touch of wheels.

-102km

Menanwhile, the front two groups have merged, leaving 21 riders at the head of the race: Senne Leysen (Alpecin-Fenix), Mathijs Paasschens (Bingoal - Wallonie Bruxelles), Lluís Mas (Movistar), Manuele Boaro (Astana), Matteo Jorgensen (Movistar). Wout van Aert, Pasal Eenkhoorn (Jumbo-Visma), Zdenek Stybar, Tim Declercq (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal), Mads Pedersen, Ryan Mullen, Jasper Stuyven, Alex Kirsch (Trek-Segafredo), Ian Stannard, Owain Doull, Luke Rowe, Ben Swift (Ineos), Lukas Postlberger (Bora-Hansgrohe), Nils Politt (Israel Start-Up Nation) and Nils Eekhoff (Sunweb).

The peloton, however, is on the cusp of linking up with those front men ahead of the Katteberg.

Greg Van Avermaet (CCC) is pictured chasing back up to the peloton. The Olympic champion may well have been caught up in that crash, but he doesn't appear to have gone down.

-101km

The peloton catches the 21 leaders. Gruppo compatto. Or rather, the gruppo is about as compatto as it can be after almost 100km on Flemish roads in wind and rain. There are around 70 riders in this front group on the approach to the Katteberg.

-100km

The rain has abated as the front group - including Alexander Kristoff - tackles the day's third ascent, the Katteberg. The cobbles at Holleweg follow immediately afterwards. 

Kristoff, incidentally, is clutching an Allen key and attempting to adjust his saddle height as he climbs the Katteberg. A distinctly Flandrien kind of multi-tasking

-97km

The bunch is over the Katteberg and into the cobbles at Holleweg, where Heinrich Haussler (Bahrain-McLaren) leads.

The peloton is off the Holleweg and headed towards the second passage over the Haaghoek-Leberg combination. The pace is high but the group remains together for the time being.

The road is wide for the time being, which means there will inevitably be a pinch point once the race hits the cobbles at Haaghoek, hence Ineos, Jumbo-Visma, Lotto Soudal and Trek-Segafredo are among the teams vying for the front positions.

-94km

Heinrich Haussler (Bahrain-McLaren) and world champion Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) lead the bunch onto the cobbles of the Haaghoek, which is covered in a paste of mud.

Haussler is looking very strong indeed. Meanwhile, some riders been shaken loose of the peloton as it clattered across the Haaghoek.

-90km

Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo), Tiesj Benoot (Sunweb) and Michael Valgren (NTT) are all to the front as the race hits the Leberg. 

The bunch is lined out over the other side of the Leberg, and it may be about to split into echelons as the race heads into a section of crosswind.

Valgren, Van Aert, Lampaert, Matteo Trentin,  Oliver Naesen, Greg Van Avermaet, Stefan Kung, Heinrich Haussler, Benoot, Stuyven and Sep Vanmarcke are all in this front echelon of 15 or so riders. The bunch has splintered into a number of echelons and this could be a pivotal moment in this edition of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.

-85km

The leaders hurtle onto the Paddestraat with a lead of 10 seconds over a second group that includes Mads Pedersen and Ian Stannard, and 15 over a larger group.

-83km

Lukas Postlberger (Bora-Hansgrohe), Greg Van Avermaet, Matteo Trentin, Yves Lampaert, Tim Declercq (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ), Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo), Oliver Naesen (AG2R La Mondiale), Sep Vanmarcke (EF), Tiesj Benoot (Sunweb), Heinrich Haussler (Bahrain-McLaren) and Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) are all in this front group as they hit the Paddestraat. A small group containing Stannard and Mads Pedersen is just about to make contact.

Wout van Aert shows his strength by accelerating to the front on the Paddestraat and opening a decent gap over the rest of this elite front group. Heinrich Haussler gives lone pursuit.

Haussler joins Van Aert at the front, and this duo will come off the Paddestraat with a lead over the chasing group. Will they press on or wait for reinforcements?

-81km

Haussler and Van Aert have shown their strength, but now they are content to wait for the rest of this front group to catch them up. There are 24 riders at the head of the race.

The day's next climb is the Rekelberg in around 10km or so. 

-78km

A long section of headwind has led to a general regrouping. We have a peloton of 50 or 60 riders at the head of the race ahead of the Rekelberg, Valkenberg and Wolvenberg. 

Despite the headwind, Matteo Trentin tries to bring another group clear. Tim Declercq follows, bringing the rest of this reduced peloton with him.

-75km

Ian Stannard is next to try his luck. After he is brought back, Greg Van Avermaet launches a searing acceleration ahead of the Rekelberg and opens a small gap...

-74km

Van Avermaet is brought back at the foot of the Rekelberg, where Zdenek Stybar sets the tempo in the peloton.

-73km

A four-man group has forged clear over the Rekelberg, with Tim Declercq policing on behalf of Deceuninck-QuickStep.

-71km

Jasper Stuyven, Matteo Trentin and Yves Lampaert have bridged across and there are now eight riders at the head of the race. 

The eight riders at the head of the race are: Matteo Trentin (CCC), Yves Lampaert, Tim Declercq (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo), Mike Teunissen (Jumbo-Visma), Frederik Frison (Lotto Soudal), Jonas Rutsch (EF Pro Cycling), Soren Kragh Andersen (Sunweb). They have a lead of 20 seconds or so over an Ineos-led peloton that contains around 40 riders. 

-68km

Kragh Andersen, Rutsch, Declercq and Frison were the first riders to forge clear over the Rekelberg. Teunissen was the next man across, before a three-man group composed of Stuyven, Trentin and Lampaert made it over.

Situation

Break: 

Matteo Trentin (CCC), Yves Lampaert, Tim Declercq (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo), Mike Teunissen (Jumbo-Visma), Frederik Frison (Lotto Soudal), Jonas Rutsch (EF Pro Cycling), Soren Kragh Andersen (Sunweb)

Peloton at 0:25 

Ian Stannard leads the chase on helling 6, the Valkenberg. 16 seconds the gap.

Nils Politt is part of a three-man move attempting to punch their way across to the eight leaders over the other side of the Valkenberg.

-62km

The Politt group doesn't get anywhere and there is a lull in the peloton that allows the eight leaders to stretch their advantage to 46 seconds ahead of the Wolvenberg.

Jonas Rutsch (EF Pro Cycling) loses contact with the break, leaving seven men in front with a lead of 1:05 over the peloton: Matteo Trentin (CCC), Yves Lampaert, Tim Declercq (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo), Mike Teunissen (Jumbo-Visma), Frederik Frison (Lotto Soudal), Soren Kragh Andersen (Sunweb)

Stefan Kung accelerates in the peloton, hoping to bring a group across to the leaders. His move is almost immediately snuffed out. There is a spread of teams in represented in front, and no squad seems willing to take responsibility for the chase behind.

-59km

Break:

Matteo Trentin (CCC), Yves Lampaert, Tim Declercq (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo), Mike Teunissen (Jumbo-Visma), Frederik Frison (Lotto Soudal), Soren Kragh Andersen (Sunweb)

Peloton at 1:20

The road ahead features the following climbs:

7 Wolvenberg 145km

8 Molenberg 158km

9 Leberg 165km

10 Berendries 169km

11 Elverenberg-Vossenhol 172km

12 Muur-Kapelmuur 183km

13 Bosberg 187km

-58km

The escapees are 3km or so from the Wolvenberg, and their lead has leapt out to 1:34 over the peloton.

Some concise instructions from Tom Steels in the Deceuninck-QuickStep car, brought to us via a dashboard camera. "Yves, this isn't your first time in the final. Tim, you work for Yves." The Deceuninck-QuickStep hierarchy in this front group couldn't be any clearer.  

-56km

Break:

Matteo Trentin (CCC), Yves Lampaert, Tim Declercq (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo), Mike Teunissen (Jumbo-Visma), Frederik Frison (Lotto Soudal), Soren Kragh Andersen (Sunweb)

Peloton at 2:20

These seven leaders now have 2:20 over the 40-strong bunch. There is still a long, long way to go, but this is a big gap for a group of this quality at this point in the race...

-55km

Mike Teunissen sets the tempo as the break hits the Wolvenberg. The seven leaders seem content to work together for the time being rather than seek to break one another on the climbs.

In the Trek-Segafredo car, Steven de Jongh issues his instructions to Jasper Stuyven, his team's representative in the front group: "No cooperation behind. You're going to stay in front a long time. Eat and drink, eat and drink."

Jumbo-Visma, Trek-Segafredo, Deceuninck-QuickStep, Lotto Soudal, Sunweb and CCC all have men in the break, so none of them have any reason to work behind, hence the 2:26 gap to the peloton.

Lukas Postlberger (Bora-Hansgrohe) understands that he cannot rely on any team to bring the break back, so the Austrian launches an ambitious lone pursuit on the cobbles at Ruiterstraat. Niki Terpstra (Total-Direct Energie) is also trying to forge across alone.

-53km

Matteo Trentin (CCC), Yves Lampaert, Tim Declercq (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo), Mike Teunissen (Jumbo-Visma), Frederik Frison (Lotto Soudal) and Soren Kragh Andersen (Sunweb) are still collaborating smoothly at the front, and they have 2:22 in hand on a peloton that seems decidedly short of momentum. 

Postlberger maintains his determined line pursuit, 1:50 behind the leaders. Jenthe Biermas (Israel Start-Up Nation), Pascal Eenkhoorn (Jumbo-Visma), Dries Van Gestel (Total-Direct Energie) and Heinrich Haussler (Bahrain-McLaren) are chasing a little further behind, while the peloton appears to have given up the pursuit altogether.

-50km

Into the final 50km for the seven leaders: Matteo Trentin (CCC), Yves Lampaert, Tim Declercq (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo), Mike Teunissen (Jumbo-Visma), Frederik Frison (Lotto Soudal), Soren Kragh Andersen (Sunweb)

The escapees hit the cobbles at Jagerij with a lead of 1:51 over Lukas Pöstlberg (Bora-Hansgrohe), Jenthe Biermas (Israel Start-Up Nation), Pascal Eenkhoorn (Jumbo-Visma), Dries Van Gestel (Total-Direct Energie) and Heinrich Haussler (Bahrain-McLaren) and 2:33 over the peloton.

The next climb on the agenda is the Molenberg, in around 5km. This leading group of seven seems content to collaborate for the time being, though with such a hefty - and possibly decisive lead - over the peloton, their unity could well fragment long before the anticipated denouement over the Muur and Bosberg.

Not surprisingly, Tim Declercq is putting in a huge shift at the head of this break on behalf of his teammate Yves Lampaert.

Situation

Break:

Matteo Trentin (CCC), Yves Lampaert, Tim Declercq (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo), Mike Teunissen (Jumbo-Visma), Frederik Frison (Lotto Soudal), Soren Kragh Andersen (Sunweb)

Chasers at 1:55

Lukas Pöstlberg (Bora-Hansgrohe), Jenthe Biermas (Israel Start-Up Nation), Pascal Eenkhoorn (Jumbo-Visma), Dries Van Gestel (Total-Direct Energie) and Heinrich Haussler (Bahrain-McLaren)

Peloton at 2:40

-43km

The break hits the Molenberg. All seven riders survive to the top, though Frison and Declercq are betraying signs of suffering...

Frison and Declercq are distanced just as the cobbled climb ends and now they must close the gap on the smooth and very false flat that follows over the top...

Declercq and Frison latch back onto the front group as the road descends once again. This break has two minutes in hand on the chasers and 2:50 on the bunch.

-40km

The next obstacle before the seven escapees is the third and final time over the Haaghoek-Leberg combination. The skies are leaden and grey, but the rain has not returned as yet.

Sep Vanmarcke (EF Pro Cycling) and Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) attack from the main peloton and this pairing is committed to a very long and ambitious pursuit of the break.

Annemiek van Vleuten has won the women's Omloop Het Nieuwsblad after soloing clear over the Muur. Details available here.

-38km

It appears Vanmarcke and Van Aert have been pegged back by the peloton. Haussler and the chasers are 1:34 down ahead of the final ascent of the Leberg.

Situation

Break:

Matteo Trentin (CCC), Yves Lampaert, Tim Declercq (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo), Mike Teunissen (Jumbo-Visma), Frederik Frison (Lotto Soudal), Soren Kragh Andersen (Sunweb)

Chasers at 1:30:

Lukas Pöstlberger (Bora-Hansgrohe), Jenthe Biermas (Israel Start-Up Nation), Pascal Eenkhoorn (Jumbo-Visma), Dries Van Gestel (Total-Direct Energie) and Heinrich Haussler (Bahrain-McLaren)

Peloton at 1:54

-35km

Jens Keukeleire (EF Pro Cycling) leads a very reduced peloton of 25 or so riders on the Leberg, 1:50 down on the seven leaders. 

-33km

A reminder of the seven men in front: Matteo Trentin (CCC), Yves Lampaert, Tim Declercq (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo), Mike Teunissen (Jumbo-Visma), Frederik Frison (Lotto Soudal) and Søren Kragh Andersen (Sunweb). They have 1:22 on the chasers and 1:49 on the peloton as they approach the climb of Berendries.

Four climbs remain on the agenda:

10 Berendries 169km

11 Elverenberg-Vossenhol 172km

12 Muur-Kapelmuur 183km

13 Bosberg 187km

-32km

Tim Declercq leads the break onto the lower slopes of Berendries. How much more does the Tractor have in the tank? His teammate Lampaert sits at the rear of this group, pedalling as smoothly as the gradient allows.

Wout van Aert accelerates in the main peloton with Tiesj Benoot on his wheel...

-30km

The seven leaders are still together over the top of the Berendries and now they face almost immediately into the Elverenberg-Vossenhol. They have 1:23 on the chasers, who are about to be joined by a flying Van Aert and Benoot...

Situation

Break:

Matteo Trentin (CCC), Yves Lampaert, Tim Declercq (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo), Mike Teunissen (Jumbo-Visma), Frederik Frison (Lotto Soudal), Søren Kragh Andersen (Sunweb)

Chasers at 1:23:

Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), Tiesj Benoot (Sunweb), Lukas Pöstlberger (Bora-Hansgrohe), Jenthe Biermas (Israel Start-Up Nation), Pascal Eenkhoorn (Jumbo-Visma), Dries Van Gestel (Total-Direct Energie) and Heinrich Haussler (Bahrain-McLaren)

Peloton at 1:50

Pascal Eenkhoorn puts in a long turn on the front of the chasing group after Van Aert bridges across. They are 1:17 down on the seven leaders - which, remember, includes their Jumbo-Visma teammate Mike Teunissen.

-28km

The Van Aert-Benoot group is 1:18 down on the leaders, while the peloton is a further 20 seconds back.

-27km

The seven leaders are over the Vossenhol. Only two climbs remain. They crest the Muur with 16.7km to go and they reach the top of the Bosberg with 12.8km remaining.

Situation:

Break:

Matteo Trentin (CCC), Yves Lampaert, Tim Declercq (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo), Mike Teunissen (Jumbo-Visma), Frederik Frison (Lotto Soudal), Søren Kragh Andersen (Sunweb)

Chasers at 1:11:

Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), Tiesj Benoot (Sunweb), Lukas Pöstlberger (Bora-Hansgrohe), Jenthe Biermas (Israel Start-Up Nation), Pascal Eenkhoorn (Jumbo-Visma), Dries Van Gestel (Total-Direct Energie) and Heinrich Haussler (Bahrain-McLaren)

Peloton at 1:30

Heinrich Haussler comes to the front of the chasing group. The Australian has looked very strong indeed this afternoon. Whatever the outcome in Ninove, this augurs well for his Classics campaign.

-24km

The Van Aert-Benoot group has been caught by the peloton. They are 1:40 behind the seven leaders, who will now surely decide the race among themselves.

Situation

Break:

Matteo Trentin (CCC), Yves Lampaert, Tim Declercq (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo), Mike Teunissen (Jumbo-Visma), Frederik Frison (Lotto Soudal), Søren Kragh Andersen (Sunweb)

Peloton at 1:36

-22km

Tim Declercq continues to put in a mammoth shift at the head of the race, though one imagines that Yves Lampaert will be on his own after the Muur.

Clement Venturini leads the peloton for his AG2R La Mondiale leader Oliver Naesen, but he is making no inroads into the leading septet's advantage of 1:40.

-20km

Into the final 20km for the seven leaders, who carry a buffer of 1:40 towards Geraardsbergen and the foot of the Muur.

-19km

The break is in the streets of Geraardsbergen, climbing through the antechamber of the Muur...

-18km

The seven men with a lead of 1:45 as the Muur begins: Matteo Trentin (CCC), Yves Lampaert, Tim Declercq (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo), Mike Teunissen (Jumbo-Visma), Frederik Frison (Lotto Soudal), Søren Kragh Andersen (Sunweb).

And then there were six. Tim Declercq is distanced on the cobbles just before the Muur proper begins, though the Belgian is desperately trying to stay in contact.

Declercq briefly rides on the pavement and that brings him back up to the coattails of the group as the Muur proper begins. 

Lampaerts hits the front as the climb begins. Stuyven and Andersen follow. Trentin is distanced, as are Frison and Declercqu.

Stuyven leads Lampaert and this part look to be forging clear of the rest. Andersen grimly tries to limit the damage. Trentin struggles a little further behind.

-17km

Stuyven leads Lampaer over the top of the Muur, but Andersen looks like he will bridge up on the descent.

Declercq, Frison and Trentin are next over the top. Teunissen is on his own a little further behind.

The peloton hits the Muur, where Naesen, Van Avermaet, Van Aert and Stybar inject pace and split the group, but their deficit to the leaders is surely too much.

-15km

Yves Lampaert, Jasper Stuyven and Soren Kragh Andersen are at the head of the race on the approach to the Bosberg, propelled by a tailwind. One senses the winner will come from this trio, though we have no time gap to the Trentin group behind.

-14km

Lampaert and Stuyven eye one another as they approach the Bosberg. Andersen sits on their wheels, still recovering from his pursuit over the Muur.

Trentin is alone in fourth place on the road, in pursuit of the three leaders. He has about 10 seconds to recoup. Teunissen is a further 10 seconds or so behind Trentin.

-13km

Stuyven, Lamapert and Andersen begin the final climb of the Bosberg. Trentin is grinding grimly in pursuit. He can see them but it looks like a stretch to catch them...

Stuyven grinds on the final stretch of cobbles, but he can't rid himself of Lampaert and Andersen...

-12km

Break:

 

Yves Lampaert (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo), Søren Kragh Andersen (Sunweb)

 

Chaser at 0:15:

 

Matteo Trentin (CCC Team)

 

Peloton at 1:30

Lampaert flicks his elbow at Andersen, who passes on the message to Stuyven. If there is an impasse in front, Trentin could yet claw his way back up to the leaders.

-11km

Stuyven comes through to the front. Over the race radio, meanwhile, Tom Steels tells Lampaert that he is the strongest in the front group. That may be the case, but Stuyven is perhaps the quickest.

-10km

Trentin has closed to within 11 seconds. Mike Teunissen is 5th on the road, 43 seconds down on the trio of leaders.

-8km

"Keep recovering, you're strong," CCC directeur sportif tells Trentin over the race radio. But his deficit to the leading trio has nudged back out to 14 seconds.

-7km

Andersen, Lampaert and Stuyven are exchanging turns a little more smoothly now. They are mindful that the rapid Trentin is not far behind. 13 seconds the gap.

Tim Declercq and Frison have joined Teunissen, 1:09 down on the three leaders.

-5km

Trentin's deficit is now at 18 seconds. His challenge is fading by the metre. The winner will come from Jasper Stuyven, Yves Lampaert and Soren Kragh Andersen.

The three leaders are still collaborating but now that their common enemy Trentin is out of the picture at 20 seconds, will their unity come to an end?

-4km

Andersen has missed a couple of turns but then the Dane was the man who struggled the most on the Muur.

Stuyen, Lampaert and Andersen have 21 seconds on Trentin and 1:15 on the Teunissen group.

-3km

Stuyven, Andersen and Lampaert are still riding together at the front. Will anyone try to slip away or will all three take their chances in a sprint?

-2km

Lampaert accelerates viciously and Stuyven follows. Andersen is struggling to bridge across.

Stuyven tries to go over the top of Lampaert, who sprints to stay on his rear wheel. That may have done for Andersen, unless there is a lull...

-1.5km

Stuyven and Lampaert swing across the road and slacken the pace a notch. Andersen, however, doesn't look like coming back.

-1km

Into the final kilometre for Stuyven and Lampaert, who look over the shoulder for Andersen.

Lampaert is going to force Stuyven to lead almost all the way through this final kilometre...

Stuyven leads into the final bend...

Lampaert opens his sprint but Stuyven kicks at the same time...

Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) wins Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.

Yves Lampaert (Deceuninck-QuickStep) is second in the two-up sprint. Søren Kragh Andersen (Sunweb) takes third.

Matteo Trentin (CCC) comes home alone to take 4th.

Tim Declercq (Deceuninck-QuickStep) takes 5th, 1:30 down, just as the remnants of the bunch closes in on him.

Result

1 Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo

2 Yves Lampaert (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep

3 Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Sunweb

4 Matteo Trentin (Ita) CCC Team

5 Tim Declercq (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep

6 Mike Teunissen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma

7 Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale

8 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Lotto Soudal

9 Stefan Küng (Swi) Groupama-FDJ

10 Florian Sénéchal (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep

Jasper Stuyven wins the 2020 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.
Jasper Stuyven beats Yves Lampaert to win Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.

Jasper Stuyven won a stage of the Vuelta a Espana in 2015, Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne in 2016 and the Deutschland Tour in 2019, but the 2020 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad is, without question, the biggest victory of his career to date. After a disappointing Classics campaign twelve months ago, he has marked himself out as a contender for the Tour of Flanders this time out, albeit with the usual Opening Weekend caveat: no Omloop winner has gone on to claim the Ronde in the same year.

Stuyven speaks: "It’s a great pleasure to show that I am back. Last season, I was constantly chasing after the fact. But we did end the year well with Mads Pedersen’s world title. We were motivated to continue in that line this season, and we’re succeeding very well. Omloop is the biggest victory of my career.”

Result

1 Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek – Segafredo 5:03:24

2 Yves Lampaert (Bel) Deceuninck - Quick - Step

3 Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Team Sunweb 0:00:06

4 Matteo Trentin (Ita) Ccc Team 0:00:39

5 Tim Declercq (Bel) Deceuninck - Quick – Step 0:01:28

6 Mike Teunissen (Ned) Team Jumbo - Visma

7 Oliver Naesen (Bel) Ag2R La Mondiale

8 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Lotto Soudal

9 Stefan Küng (Swi) Groupama - Fdj

10 Florian Senechal (Fra) Deceuninck - Quick - Step

11 Wout van Aert (Bel) Team Jumbo - Visma

12 Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) Bora - Hansgrohe

13 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) Ccc Team

14 Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Team Sunweb

15 Frederik Frison (Bel) Lotto Soudal

16 Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Movistar Team

17 Silvan Dillier (Swi) Ag2R La Mondiale

18 Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain - Mclaren

19 Aime De Gendt (Bel) Circus - Wanty Gobert

20 Lukas Pöstlberger (Aut) Bora – Hansgrohe 0:02:10

Thanks for following our live coverage of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on Cyclingnews today. You can find a full report, results and pictures here, and we'll be back with more from Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne tomorrow. In the meantime, Patrick Fletcher and Brecht Decaluwe will have all the news and reaction from Omloop.