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Omloop Het Nieuwsblad 2021

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, previously known as Omloop Het Volk, is a one-day cycling race in Belgium, run annually in late February. This year the race will be held on Saturday, February 27th. The race will be the 76th edition of the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and will compete as a 1.UWT race.

The event marks the opening in Northwestern Europe of the Belgian cycling calendar as well as the first race of the year and retains significant prestige because of it. The race has been part of the UCI World Tour and the top-tier professional events of cycling since 2017. This generally features a lot of climbs from the Flanders Tour. The final of the last three editions regarded the Wall of Geraardsbergen/Bosberg blend.

The race begins in Ghent, Flanders, and finishes in Ninove, Flanders. At around 200 kilometers, the Omloop is the first race in the Flemish Opening Weekend, and the other one being Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne. The race route involves the hills in the Flemish Ardennes, marking the opening of the cobbled classics season in Europe. Due to its early calendar date, it is marked by frequent cold weather, and in contrast to the early-season stage races in the Middle East and Southern Europe.

The Route

Starting from Ghent, the race proceeds to the Flemish Ardennes through several short climbs, before reverting to Ghent. There was a scene from 1996 until 2007 that the finish was in Lokeren, 20 kilometers east of Ghent.

The route is a bit more challenging and arduous at 200 kilometers and with 13 extreme climbs in the hill zone. There are multiple flat patches of cobbles in addition. Amid annual improvements, the Leberg, Berendries, Taaienberg, Muur van Geraardsbergen, Eikenberg, and Molenberg are some of the frequent climbs in the Omloop. The race is close in pattern to the Tour of Flanders due to its hilly course in the Flemish Ardennes, which is mostly used in preparation for a bigger event five weeks away. A new climb, Boembekeberg, was practiced in the 2016 race as a substitute for the Molenberg, which was missed due to road work. For the 2017 race, this was changed.

Traditionally, both the official start and finish are on Ghent's biggest square, Sint-Pietersplein. However, as Easter arrives early in the year, the square is booked for the annual Mid-Lent fair every seven years and organizers need to choose different locations. The Citadel town park, near the Kuipke velodrome, took as the starting point in 2016 and 2017. The finish was close to the starting spot, on the Emile Clauslaan thoroughfare.

Participating Teams

This year's edition expects to see a variety of celebrity names to try to bring their Classics campaigns off to a winning start. In addition to Philippe Gilbert (Lotto-Soudal), Greg Van Avermaet (Ag2r-Citroën), Zdeněk Štybar (Deceuninck-Quick-Step), among others, all likely to take the start line. Due to its popularity in Belgium, there are many teams and riders show interest to compete in the race.

Competing teams: UAE-Team Emirates, Astana - Premier Tech, Lotto Soudal, AG2R Citroën Team, Team DSM, Alpecin-Fenix, Team BikeExchange, Team Qhubeka ASSOS, Bahrain - Victorious, Team Arkéa Samsic, Deceuninck - Quick Step, BORA - hansgrohe, Trek - Segafredo, INEOS Grenadiers, Team Jumbo-Visma, Movistar Team, EF Education - Nippo, Israel Start-Up Nation, Bingoal - Wallonie Bruxelles, Cofidis–Solutions Crédits, Team Total Direct Energie, Intermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux, B&B Hotels p/b KTM, Sport Vlaanderen - Baloise.

Recent Champions

Belgian cyclist Jasper Stuyven, is the title holder from 2020 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. The homerider wonderfully won the race ahead of Yves Lampaert (Deceuninck–Quick-Step) and Søren Kragh Andersen (Team Sunweb).

There are other champions from different years are Zdeněk Štybar (Deceuninck–Quick-Step) 2019, Michael Valgren (Astana) 2018, Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing Team) 2017, Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing Team) 2016, Ian Stannard (Team Sky) 2015.