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Jumbo-Visma retains the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad title in Classics season opener

Canadian de Vos in the day's breakaway

Jumbo-Visma might not have had 2022 champion Wout Van Aert in the race, but the team kept the title of the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, the first race of the Opening Week of the Classics season, 1.Pro-rated Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne following on Saturday. In his first race of the season and his first race for his new squad, Dutchman Dylan van Baarle, the 2022 Paris-Roubaix champion, took the day’s flowers. Adam de Vos, who was in the day’s breakaway, was top Canadian in 83rd.

The Course
Over 208 km, the course offered up eight sectors of cobbles, nine climbs and two cobbled climbs, the most important of which was the Muur van Geraardsbergen/Kapelmuur (1 km of 9.2 percent) that came with 16.5 km to go. Four kilometres after the Muur was the Bosberg climb (1 km of 5.8%).

It was very windy in the finishing town of Ninove.

Four Canadians lined up in Ghent. Guillaume Boivin of Israel-Premier Tech and national champ Pier-André Coté, Adam de Vos and Boivin’s old teammate Ben Perry of Human Powered Health were good to go.

By the midway point of the race, there was a seven-strong breakaway that included de Vos up the road and a sextet in pursuit 3:30 back. De Vos wears the orange helmet in Cofidis’ tweet below.

Jumbo-Visma had been doing most of the chasing but with two men in Group 2, contender Arnaud De Lie’s Lotto-Dstny took over. The peloton’s scrapping for position on the Valkenberg climb and Holleweg cobbles absorbed Group 2 and yanked the breakaways closer.

The escape drawing closer elicted many attacks, which caused crashes. De Lie was one rider who went down, and he had to change machines. De Vos and his fellow fugitives absorbed, Jumbo’s Christophe Laporte made a dig on the Molenberg with 41 km to go. The frenetic action split the peloton.

From this group Jumbo-Visma’s new fellow Dylan van Baarle kicked away with three others before the Leberg, Jasper Stuyven leading a sextet of pursuers 30 seconds behind as they approached the Berendries.

The hills kept whittling down the leading group and by the Vosenhol van Baarle only had Frenchman Mathis Le Berre tagging along, 50 seconds clear with 25 km to race. Stuyven’s chase had submitted to the peloton.

Bahrain-Victorious took up the chase duties as the Muur loomed ahead. The Geraardsbergen dislodged Le Berre.

De Lie lit the fuse in the peleton on the Kapelmuur, or “Chapel Wall, and established a small chase containing Laporte, Matej Mohorič and Tim Wellens. The fabled climb put some riders on foot.

Van Baarle’s gap was down to 20 seconds with 17 km and the Bosberg remaining. The gaps remained over the Bosberg and the situation with 5 km to race was van Baarle 24 seconds ahead of the De Lie quartet and 42 seconds over the peloton.

De Lie was the runner up and Laporte rounded out the podium.

Strade Bianche is the next WorldTour race on March 4.

2023 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad
1) Dylan van Baarle (The Netherlands/Jumbo-Visma) 4:54:46
2) Arnaud De Lie (Belgium/Lotto-Dstny) +0:20
3) Christophe Laporte (France/Lotto-Visma) s.t.
83) Adam de Vos (Canada/Human Powered Health) +6:47
104) Ben Perry (Canada/Human Powered Health) +12:22
120) Guillaume Boivin (Canada/Israel-Premier Tech) s.t.