This Saturday, Feb. 27, will mark the first race of the 2021 Flemish Classics—the 74th running of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. The first cobbled Classic of the season, Omloop sets the stage for the rest of the classics, and gives viewers a glimpse of what to expect.
Women’s Omloop 2021
In the women’s race, Canadian Alison Jackson will kick off her 2021 season with her new team, Liv Racing. Jackson’s teammate Lotte Kopecky is predicted to be a strong contender, but van Vleuten also will be back to defend her victory. The women’s race will be 126-km long, and will feature five cobbled sectors and ten climbs, of which three are cobbled.
Since 2018, the infamous Muur van Geraardsbergen climb has acted as both the men’s and women’s races’ penultimate climb—a fan favourite.
Men’s Omloop 2021
This year, men’s race will feature Canadians Antoine Duchesne, racing for Groupama-FDJ, and Benjamin Perry, who will kick off his first season with Astana – Premier Tech.
Notably, Wout Van Aert won’t be present, as he has opted for additional recovery post-cyclocross season. Peter Sagan also won’t be racing—although he is fully recovered from COVID-19 he has still chosen to start his season later, at Strade Bianche.
Stuyven will return to race Omloop, but he will have to contend with current world champion Julian Alaphilippe, Greg Van Avermaet, Philippe Gilbert and more.
The 200-km men’s race will feature 13 climbs and nine cobbled sectors.
In Canada, you can stream Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on Feb. 27 on Flobikes. The men’s race will begin at 8:00 a.m. EST, 5:00 a.m. PST, and end at approximately 10:30 a.m. EST, 7:30 a.m. PST. The women’s race coverage kicks off at 10:37 a.m. EST, 7:37 a.m. PST and ends at 11:40 a.m. EST, 8:40 a.m. PST.