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by Matt de Neef
February 26, 2018
In today’s edition of the CT Daily News Digest: Michael Valgren wins the men’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad; Christina Siggaard a surprise winner in the women’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad; Dylan Groenewegen takes out Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne; Alejandro Valverde victorious at the Abu Dhabi Tour; Ellen van Dijk rides to Omloop van het Hageland victory; Hannah Barnes wins the Setmana Ciclista Valenciana; Astana in doubt due to ‘critical’ funding issues; Martin Vestby joins Mitchelton-Scott women’s team as sports director; Dumoulin’s Abu Dhabi dummy-spit; Photo galleries from NAHBS.
A late solo move has seen Michael Valgren (Astana) take victory at the 2018 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, the traditional opener to the European season.
Valgren was part of a select leading group coming into the final kilometres of the race. The 26-year-old attacked with roughly 2km to go, opening up enough of a gap to ride to the biggest one-day win of his career so far. Lukasz Wisniowski (Sky) was second ahead of Sep Vanmarcke (EF Education First-Drapac).
The 2018 Omloop featured a new route which included the famous Muur van Garaardsbergen-Bosberg double in the closing kilometres. A lead group of nine riders formed over the Muur, led by Vanmarcke, but despite a flurry of attacks in the kilometres to come, nothing would stick until Valgren’s well-timed late move.
“It’s been a dream of mine to do these races,” Valgren said. “I was a bit locked in my first years with Saxo Bank and I was with [Alberto] Contador. Last year, they gave me a chance, I performed well in E3 and Flanders. This year, I’ve only been focusing on this. It’s amazing that I won. I am super happy.”