Omloop Het Nieuwsblad 2023: how to watch and favorites

Road 22/02/23 18:00 Migue A.

Although the season is already a month and a half old, for many, the real start of the campaign is the start of the month of cobblestones that will make us enjoy from here until early April some of the most exciting and epic races on the calendar with the cobblestones of southwest Flanders as the real protagonists.

Classicists sharpen their knives ahead of the cobblestone classics races

Cycling of many carats that await us from this weekend until next April 12th in which some of the races preferred by cycling fans will take place, with Belgium as the neuralgic center.

Once again this year, the so-called "opening weekend", with Omloop Het Niewsblad, the next World Tour category race in 2023 after the UAE Tour that is being held these days, and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne the following day, the latter of category 1.Pro, will make us enjoy the spectacle of pavés and Flemish walls that will test some of the best cyclists in the world.

Cast of (almost) luxury

As usual, this race is a juicy treat for the classicists, who have during these next few weeks their peak of the season. Shining on Belgian soil means for many the difference between a great campaign or having to fight in September for a good renewal.

However, it is also common for some of the big favorites to be absent from Omloop Het Niewsblad ahead of the three monuments that will be contested between March and the first week of April, in other words, Milan-San Remo, Flanders and Roubaix. Such is the case of the two undisputed favorites in any of these races, Mathieu Van der Poel and Wout Van Aert, who will not take the start in this race. Both have set the start of their road calendar for March 4th, where they will face each other in the Strade Bianche.

The absence of these two great stars will undoubtedly leave us a race much more open to the many candidates to take the victory, as joked the AG2R Citroën Team rider Oliver Naesen, in statements to the Belgian newspaper that gives its name to this race when he said "with that I already win two places". The Belgian will be one of the candidates to make a good performance, just like his teammate Greg Van Avermaet who, despite being far from his best years, is always a rider to be considered, in fact, last year he occupied the third step of the podium after Wout Van Aert and Sonny Colbrelli.

Tom Pidcock will be the one to start next Saturday in Ghent, after finishing his cyclo-cross season before his two big rivals. INEOS-Grenadiers will support the British rider with a solid team that includes names like Connor Swift, Luke Rowe or an inexhaustible Michal Kwiatkowski.

Despite the absence of Van der Poel, Alpecin-Deceuninck will have good assets to assault victory at Omloop Het Niewsblad in the legs of Jasper Philipsen and Dries de Bondt.

Of course, even if Van Aert is not in the squad, there is also Jumbo-Visma, which has a strong team with Tiejs Benoot, Christophe Laporte, Jan Tratnik or Dylan Van Baarle as names that will surely be in the top positions at the end of the race.

Among the great favorites to triumph in any of the spring classics it is always obligatory to include Patrick Levefere's squad. Soudal-QuickStep is the favorite in any of these races. Cyclists such as Yves Lampaert, Kasper Asgreen, Tim Declercq or Florian Senechal will try to make the strength of the wolf pack count for one of them to win.

This race is also a tremendously important date for Lotto-Dstny, especially after last season's unfortunate loss of World Tour status. The path to regain its place among the top teams must begin to be forged this spring. Their bet will once again be on the always reliable Victor Campenaerts.

After his debut at La Vuelta a San Juan, where he made his debut in some of the finishes, Peter Sagan starts his last season of classics in this Omloop Het Niewsblad, trying to show the level that made him a reference on the cobblestones. Total-DirectEnergies will support him with other illustrious veterans such as Edvald Boasson-Hagen and his inseparable Daniel Oss.

Movistar Team presents Iván García Cortina as a great candidate, without disregarding the role that can play an always solid Imanol Erviti or the great form that has shown in this start of the season a cyclist as versatile as the young Matteo Jorgenson, who a few days ago was brilliantly victorious in the Tour of Oman.

Small Tour of Flanders

Except for the distance of its route, a not insignificant 207 kilometers, there are few differences between this Omloop Het Niewsblad and the great monument that is the Tour of Flanders. In fact, its route, especially its final part, is practically a replica of what was the usual route of De Ronde before it was based in the town of Oudenaarde.

This means that the outcome of the race will take place on the mythical Muur-Kapelmuur and Bosberg, concluding with a dozen kilometers on the road to Ninove, which usually offer exciting chases.

Before these last two walls, the riders will have covered all the Flemish Ardennes, climbing 10 more walls, including such iconic names as the Molenberg or Berendries; and 9 flat paved sections, including the classic Paddestraat or the Haaghoek.

Where to watch the Omloop Het Niewsblad

As usual, the only way to watch this race live is through the so-called House of Cycling. Eurosport continues to be the easiest option to follow the cycling season. In the case of the Omloop Het Niewsblad, the coincidence this weekend with the important Player's Championship Snooker, and the last stages of UAE Tour and O Gran Camiño, have relegated this race to the Eurosport Player and GCN+ applications, which will broadcast it live between 13:30 and 16:30 when the finish is scheduled.

Those who watch Eurosport through digital platforms and, therefore, only have access to the standard E1 and E2 channels, will have to wait until 17:30 when the delayed broadcast is scheduled on the Eurosport 2 channel.



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Omloop Het Nieuwsblad 2023: dónde ver y favoritos