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This weekend marks the opening of the Belgian calendar with a double-header of the cobbled races; Omloop Het Nieuwsblad followed by Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne. Kristof Ramon traveled with Lotto-Belisol yesterday for their reconnaissance of the 2012 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad course for this Saturday’s race.
Omloop Het Nieuwsblad was first held in 1945 and organised by the newspaper Het Volk in response to rival newspaper Het Nieuwsblad’s “Classic Ronde van Vlaanderen”. The ‘Omloop’ (or ‘tour’), starts and finishes in Ghent and uses many of the climbs in the Tour of Flanders.
The race was known as Omloop Het Volk until 2008. The newspaper Het Volk stopped publishing in 2008 and was taken over by Het Nieuwsblad (and hence the organisation of the race), as a result of which the race was renamed to Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in 2009.
GreenEDGE will be racing Omloop Het Nieuwsblad with last year’s winner Sebastian Langeveld. He’ll be supported by Brett Lancaster, Matthew Wilson, Baden Cooke, Jens Keukeleire, Travis Meyer, Jens Mouris and Tomas Vaitkus. Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne was won last year by CJ Sutton.
Over the next five weeks, nearly every race is preparation for the biggest races in April, the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.
***There are 2 spots still open for our Spring Classics Tour from Friday, 30th March to Monday, 9th April. If you’re interested in coming please contact me by COB today.