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Five Canadians slated for Classics season opener Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

It's cobble time

Photo by: Sirotti

It’s the opening weekend of the Classics season in Belgium, with the men’s and women’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on Saturday and the men’s 1.Pro-rated Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne on Sunday. At posting time five Canadians were slated to race the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad races and six were scheduled for Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne.

You can watch both Omloop Het Nieuwsblad races at FloBikes.

OHN is the first one-day race of the men’s WorldTour and a women’s 1.Pro-rated race–the first race of the Women’s WorldTour is March 5’s Strade Bianche Donne. The men’s race has 15 cobbled sections, nine hills and four cobbled climbs, including the Muur-Kapelmuur before the Bosberg with 13 km to go. The women’s side faces seven cobbled sections, six hills and two cobbled hills, with the same Muur-Kapelmuur-Bosberg finish.

Israel-Premier Tech is fielding Hugo Houle and Guillaume Boivin for the Omloop, and Groupama-FDJ is sending Antoine Duchesne. These same three will contest KBK on Sunday. In the women’s race Magdeleine Vallieres of EF Education-TIBCO-SVB and Gabrielle Pilote Fortin of Cofidis will line up in Ghent.

Joining Houle, Boivin and Duchesne at Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne will be Human Powered Health’s Pier-André Coté, Adam de Vos and Nick Zukowsky.

Last year Quick-Step-Alpha Vinyl’s Davide Ballerini and SD Worx’s Anna van der Breggen took Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. Ballerini is skipping the race to get ready for Tirreno-Adriatico starting March 7 while van der Breggen has retired. Mads Pederson raised the 2021 Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne trophy; he’s not racing until Paris-Nice beginning on March 6.