Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

Tom Boonen at the start of the 2009 event
Race details
Date Late February
Region Flanders, Belgium
Local name(s) Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (Dutch)
Nickname(s) The Omloop
The Opening Classic
Discipline Road
Competition UCI World Tour
Type One-day
Race director Wim Van Herreweghe
Men's history
First edition 1945 (1945)
Editions 71 (as of 2016)
First winner  Jean Bogaerts (BEL)
Most wins  Joseph Bruyère (BEL)
 Ernest Sterckx (BEL)
 Peter Van Petegem (BEL)
(3 wins)
Most recent  Greg Van Avermaet (BEL)
Women's history
First edition 2006 (2006)
Editions 11 (as of 2016)
First winner  Suzanne de Goede (NED)
Most wins  Suzanne de Goede (NED)
 Emma Johansson (SWE)
(2 wins)
Most recent  Lizzie Armitstead (GBR)

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, previously Omloop Het Volk, is a one-day cycling race in Belgium, held annually in late February. It is the opening event of the Belgian cycling season, as well as the first race of the year in Northwestern Europe, and holds significant prestige because of it.[1] In 2017 the race will be included in the UCI World Tour for the first time.[2][3] Until 2016 it was ranked as a 1.HC event of the UCI Europe Tour.

The race starts and finishes in Ghent, Flanders, and addresses the hills in the Flemish Ardennes, marking the start of the cobbled classics season in Europe. Due to its early calendar date, it is characterized by often cold weather, coming as a contrast to the early-season stage races in the Middle East and Southern Europe.[4] The day after the Omloop, Kuurne–Brussels–Kuurne completes the opening weekend.

Since 2006, a women's edition of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad is held on the same day as the men's race, starting and finishing on the same location, of approximately 130 kilometres distance. Both events are organized by Flanders Classics.


Omloop Het Volk

First held in 1945, the race was called Omloop van Vlaanderen ("Circuit of Flanders"). The event was initiated by Flemish newspaper Het Volk, in response to rivaling newspaper Het Nieuwsblad’s classic, the Tour of Flanders. Het Volk, of left-leaning publication, wanted to start a new cycling event in Flanders as a rival race to what it saw as the Tour of Flanders' closeness to the Nazis during World War II.[N 1][8] The Ronde's organizers protested that the name was too close to their own – there is little semantic difference between "Ronde" and "Omloop". The Belgian cycling federation demanded Het Volk to change the name of the event, prompting Het Volk to serve as title sponsor of their own race.[9][10] In 2009 the former rival newspapers Het Volk and Het Nieuwsblad merged, causing the event to be renamed Omloop Het Nieuwsblad for its 64th edition.[N 2][11]

Winter race

Due to its early-season calendar date, the race has occasionally been affected by cold and wintry conditions.[4] Three editions of the event were cancelled. The 1971 race was postponed due to snow and run three weeks later. In 1986 and 2004 organizers were forced to cancel the race, as snow and freezing temperatures had made the route too dangerous and riders' safety could not be guaranteed.[12][13][14] In modern times, organizers rely heavily on weather forecasts and adjust the course if some sectors are deemed unsafe. Unrelated to the weather, the 1960 race was cancelled following a disagreement between the organizers and cycling's ruling body UCI.[N 3]

Belgian opening race

Traditionally the opening event of the Belgian cycling season, the race holds particular importance for Belgian cyclists. Throughout its history, Belgian riders, comfortable with cold weather and aided by large, supportive crowds, have dominated the race. Belgians have won 55 of 71 editions, although, exemplary for the growing international status of the race, they have only won three of the last ten editions. In 1948 Italian cycling icon Fausto Coppi won the race, but was disqualified for receiving an illegal wheel-change.[N 4]

The record for wins is three, shared by Joseph Bruyère, Ernest Sterckx and Peter van Petegem. Bruyère holds the fastest average (43.35 km/h) for his 1975 win. Other notable winners include Eddy Merckx, Roger De Vlaeminck, Freddy Maertens, Johan Museeuw, Philippe Gilbert and Thor Hushovd.


Route of the 2015 edition

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad starts in Ghent, East Flanders, and addresses the Flemish Ardennes in the south of the province, featuring numerous short climbs, before returning to Ghent.[15] From 1996 until 2007 the finish was in Lokeren, 20 km east of Ghent.

At 200 kilometres and with 13 climbs in the hill zone, the course is challenging and arduous. Additionally, there are several flat stretches of cobbles.[4] Despite annual changes, some of the regular climbs in the Omloop are the Leberg, Berendries, Taaienberg, Muur van Geraardsbergen, Eikenberg and Molenberg. Due to its hilly course in the Flemish Ardennes, the race is similar in nature to the Tour of Flanders, and is often used in preparation for the bigger event five weeks later. The 2016 race featured one new climb, Boembekeberg, as a replacement for the Molenberg, which was skipped because of road works.[15]

Both the official start and finish are traditionally on Ghent's largest square, Sint-Pietersplein. Every seven years however, when Easter comes early in the year, the square is booked for the annual Mid-Lent fair and organizers need to find different locations. In 2016 the Citadel city park, next to the Kuipke velodrome, served as start location. The finish was on the Emile Clauslaan thoroughfare, near the starting place.[16]

Men's winners

The following riders have won the race:[17]

Podium of the 2015 event: Niki Terpstra, winner Ian Stannard and Tom Boonen.
Rider Team
1945 Belgium Bogaerts, JeanJean Bogaerts (BEL) Alcyon-Dunlop
1946 Belgium Pieters, AndreAndré Pieters (BEL) Alcyon-Dunlop
1947 Belgium Sercu, AlbertAlbert Sercu (BEL) Bertin-Wolber
1948 Belgium Grysolle, SylvainSylvain Grysolle (BEL) Zircon
1949 Belgium Declerck, AndreAndré Declerck (BEL) Bertin-Wolber
1950 Belgium Declerck, AndreAndré Declerck (BEL) Bertin-Wolber
1951 Belgium Bogaerts, JeanJean Bogaerts (BEL) Starnord-Wolber
1952 Belgium Sterckx, ErnestErnest Sterckx (BEL) L'Avenir
1953 Belgium Sterckx, ErnestErnest Sterckx (BEL) L'Avenir
1954 Belgium De Baere, KarelKarel De Baere (BEL) Mercier-BP-Hutchinson
1955 Belgium Anthonis, LodeLode Anthonis (BEL) L'Avenir
1956 Belgium Sterckx, ErnestErnest Sterckx (BEL) L'Avenir
1957 Belgium Kerckhove, NorbertNorbert Kerckhove (BEL) Faema-Guerra
1958 Belgium Planckaert, JosephJoseph Planckaert (BEL) Carpano
1959 Republic of Ireland Elliott, SeamusSeamus Elliott (IRL) Helyett-Fynsec
1960 No race
1961 Belgium De Cabooter, ArthurArthur De Cabooter (BEL) Groene Leeuw-Sinalco-SAS
1962 Belgium De Middeleir, RobertRobert De Middeleir (BEL) Wiel's-Groene Leeuw
1963 Belgium Van Meenen, RenéRené Van Meenen (BEL) Wiel's-Groene Leeuw
1964 Belgium Melckenbeek, FransFrans Melckenbeek (BEL) Mercier-BP-Hutchinson
1965 Belgium De Pauw, NoelNoël De Pauw (BEL) Solo-Superia
1966 Netherlands Roo, Jo deJo de Roo (NED) Televizier-Batavus
1967 Belgium Vekemans, WillyWilly Vekemans (BEL) Goldor-Gerka
1968 Belgium Vanspringel, HermanHerman Vanspringel (BEL) Mann-Grundig
1969 Belgium De Vlaeminck, RogerRoger De Vlaeminck (BEL) Flandria–De Clerck–Krüger
1970 Belgium Frans Verbeeck (BEL) Geens-Watney
1971 Belgium Merckx, EddyEddy Merckx (BEL) Molteni
1972 Belgium Frans Verbeeck (BEL) Watney-Avia
1973 Belgium Merckx, EddyEddy Merckx (BEL) Molteni
1974 Belgium Bruyere, JosephJoseph Bruyere (BEL) Molteni
1975 Belgium Bruyere, JosephJoseph Bruyere (BEL) Molteni-RYC
1976 Belgium Peeters, WillemWillem Peeters (BEL) Ijsboerke-Colnago
1977 Belgium Maertens, FreddyFreddy Maertens (BEL) Flandria–Velda
1978 Belgium Maertens, FreddyFreddy Maertens (BEL) Flandria–Velda–Lano
1979 Belgium De Vlaeminck, RogerRoger De Vlaeminck (BEL) Gis Gelati
1980 Belgium Bruyère, JosephJoseph Bruyère (BEL) Marc-Carlos-V.R.D.
1981 Netherlands Raas, JanJan Raas (NED) TI-Raleigh
1982 Belgium De Wolf, AlfonsAlfons De Wolf (BEL) Vermeer Thijs
1983 Belgium De Wolf, AlfonsAlfons De Wolf (BEL) Bianchi-Piaggio
1984 Belgium Planckaert, EddyEddy Planckaert (BEL) Panasonic
1985 Belgium Planckaert, EddyEddy Planckaert (BEL) Panasonic
1986 No race due to snow
1987 Netherlands Vliet, Teun vanTeun van Vliet (NED) Panasonic
1988 Belgium Van Holen, RonnyRonny Van Holen (BEL) Roland
1989 Belgium De Wilde, EtienneEtienne De Wilde (BEL) Histor-Sigma
1990 Belgium Capiot, JohanJohan Capiot (BEL) TVM
1991 Germany Kappes, AndreasAndreas Kappes (GER) Toshiba-Look
1992 Belgium Capiot, JohanJohan Capiot (BEL) TVM–Sanyo
1993 Belgium Nelissen, WilfriedWilfried Nelissen (BEL) Novemail-Histor
1994 Belgium Nelissen, WilfriedWilfried Nelissen (BEL) Novemail-Histor
1995 Italy Ballerini, FrancoFranco Ballerini (ITA) Mapei–GB–Latexco
1996 Belgium Steels, TomTom Steels (BEL) Mapei–GB
1997 Belgium Van Petegem, PeterPeter Van Petegem (BEL) TVM–Farm Frites
1998 Belgium Van Petegem, PeterPeter Van Petegem (BEL) TVM–Farm Frites
1999 Belgium Vandenbroucke, FrankFrank Vandenbroucke (BEL) Cofidis
2000 Belgium Museeuw, JohanJohan Museeuw (BEL) Mapei–Quick-Step
2001 Italy Bartoli, MicheleMichele Bartoli (ITA) Mapei–Quick-Step
2002 Belgium Van Petegem, PeterPeter Van Petegem (BEL) Lotto–Adecco
2003 Belgium Museeuw, JohanJohan Museeuw (BEL) Quick-Step–Davitamon
2004 No race due to snow
2005 Belgium Nuyens, NickNick Nuyens (BEL) Quick-Step–Innergetic
2006 Belgium Gilbert, PhilippePhilippe Gilbert (BEL) Française des Jeux
2007 Italy Pozzato, FilippoFilippo Pozzato (ITA) Liquigas
2008 Belgium Gilbert, PhilippePhilippe Gilbert (BEL) Française des Jeux
2009 Norway Hushovd, ThorThor Hushovd (NOR) Cervélo TestTeam
2010 Spain Flecha, Juan AntonioJuan Antonio Flecha (ESP) Team Sky
2011 Netherlands Langeveld, SebastianSebastian Langeveld (NED) Rabobank
2012 Belgium Vanmarcke, SepSep Vanmarcke (BEL) Garmin–Barracuda
2013 Italy Paolini, LucaLuca Paolini (ITA) Team Katusha
2014 United Kingdom Stannard, IanIan Stannard (GBR) Team Sky
2015 United Kingdom Stannard, IanIan Stannard (GBR) Team Sky
2016 Belgium Van Avermaet, Greg Greg Van Avermaet (BEL) BMC Racing Team

Multiple winners

Riders is italics are active

Wins Rider Editions
3  Ernest Sterckx (BEL) 1952, 1953, 1956
 Joseph Bruyère (BEL) 1974, 1975, 1980
 Peter Van Petegem (BEL) 1997, 1998, 2002
2  Jean Bogaerts (BEL) 1945, 1951
 André Declerck (BEL) 1949, 1950
 Frans Verbeeck (BEL) 1970, 1972
 Eddy Merckx (BEL) 1971, 1973
 Freddy Maertens (BEL) 1977, 1978
 Roger De Vlaeminck (BEL) 1969, 1979
 Fons De Wolf (BEL) 1982, 1983
 Eddy Planckaert (BEL) 1984, 1985
 Johan Capiot (BEL) 1990, 1992
 Wilfried Nelissen (BEL) 1993, 1994
 Johan Museeuw (BEL) 2000, 2003
 Philippe Gilbert (BEL) 2006, 2008
 Ian Stannard (GBR) 2014, 2015

Wins per country

Wins Country
55  Belgium
4  Italy,  Netherlands
2  United Kingdom
1  Germany,  Ireland,  Norway,  Spain

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad for Women elite

Since 2006 there is a women's version of the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. Held on the same day as the men's event, it uses much of the same roads and equally opens the women's cycling season in Northern Europe. In recent editions the route is 122 km, featuring eight climbs and six sections of cobbles.[18] Dutch rider Suzanne de Goede and Sweden's Emma Johansson have won the race twice.

Edition Winner Second Third
2006 Netherlands Suzanne de Goede Netherlands Mirjam Melchers Germany Tanja Hennes
2007 Denmark Mie Bekker Lacota Sweden Monica Holler Netherlands Jaccolien Wallaard
2008 Netherlands Kirsten Wild Germany Angela Brodtka Sweden Emma Johansson
2009 Netherlands Suzanne de Goede Italy Noemi Cantele Belgium Kelly Druyts
2010 Sweden Emma Johansson Belgium Liesbet De Vocht Belgium Grace Verbeke
2011 Sweden Emma Johansson Netherlands Andrea Bosman Netherlands Chantal Blaak
2012 Netherlands Loes Gunnewijk Netherlands Ellen van Dijk Germany Trixi Worrack
2013 Australia Tiffany Cromwell United States Megan Guarnier Sweden Emma Johansson
2014 Netherlands Amy Pieters Sweden Emma Johansson United Kingdom Lizzie Armitstead
2015 Netherlands Anna van der Breggen Netherlands Ellen van Dijk United Kingdom Lizzie Armitstead
2016 United Kingdom Lizzie Armitstead Netherlands Chantal Blaak Australia Tiffany Cromwell

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad U23

An edition of the race for under-23 men has been held since 1950.


  1. The Tour of Flanders is the only cycling classic in Europe that was organized on German-occupied territory during the Second World War and in full agreement with the German command.[5] The Germans not only allowed and enjoyed the race but helped police the route as well.[6] This led to accusations of collaboration with Nazi Germany.[7]
  2. Het Nieuwsblad, as the bigger newspaper, became the name-bearer of the merge.
  3. UCI had given better calendar dates to other Belgian races, prompting Het Volk to call off the race in protest.
  4. Belgian Walschott had given Coppi his wheel, but rules allowed assistance only from team-mates

References and footnotes

  1. Barry, Ryan. "Omloop Het Nieuwsblad marks coming of Belgian spring. Boonen, Wiggins and Cavendish on show at opening weekend". Cyclingnews. Retrieved 12 December 2015.
  2. "UCI expands WorldTour to 37 events". Cycling News. Retrieved 2 October 2016.
  3. "The UCI reveals expanded UCI WorldTour calendar for 2017". UCI. Retrieved 2 October 2016.
  4. 1 2 3 "Omloop Het Nieuwsblad Elite 2016". Cycling News. Immediate Media Company. Retrieved 23 February 2016.
  5. Bicycling, USA, undated cutting
  6. Konrad, Gabe and Melanie (200), Bikelore, On The Wheel Publications (USA), ISBN 1-892495-32-5, p101
  7. SBR, Stay the Course, Tour de Flanders, April 7th, 2007 by Christophe Vandaele
  8. "Daily Peloton - Pro Cycling News".
  9. Vanwalleghem, Rik, Het Wonder van Vlaanderen, Pinguin, Belgium, ISBN 90-73322-09-X, p69
  10. Vanwalleghem, Rik, Het Wonder van Vlaanderen, Pinguin, Belgium, ISBN 90-73322-09-X, p72
  11. Haake, Bjorn. "64th Omloop Het Nieuwsblad - 1.HC: New name, similar route for Classic opener". Retrieved 8 July 2016.
  12. Jones, Jeff. "59th Omloop Het Volk". Retrieved 8 July 2016.
  13. Jones, Jeff. "Het Volk cancelled". Retrieved 8 July 2016.
  14. Jones, Jeff. "An icy start in Belgium". Retrieved 8 July 2016.
  15. 1 2 "Roadmap" (PDF). Flanders Classics. Retrieved 22 February 2016.
  16. "Bekijk hier het gewijzigde parcours van de Omloop Het Nieuwsblad". Het Nieuwsblad. Mediahuis. Retrieved 23 February 2016.
  17. "Omloop Het Nieuwsblad". Cycling Archives. Retrieved 27 February 2016.
  18. "Van der Breggen wins women's Omloop Het Nieuwsblad". Cyclingnews. Retrieved 12 December 2015.
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