Biting wind, the smell of frites n’ beer in the air and cobbles. YES! The spring classics season is upon us and the new look parcours for Omloop Het Nieuwsblad produced two Danish Viking victories. A non-stop thriller of a men’s finale saw Astana play a three-up blinder and Michael Valgren attack at the opportune moment to take a solo victory. Sky’s Lukasz Wisniowski took second and Sep Vanmarcke (EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale) repeated his third place from 2017. In the women’s race, Christina Siggaard (Team Virtu Cycling Women) won the bunch sprint from Alexis Ryan (Canyon SRAM) and Maria Confalonieri (Valcar PBM).
One thing I’ve learned from watching spectatorless desert races ridden on four-lane highways is this: they make me even more thirsty for the start of the cobbled classics. And today’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad was like a long, cool drink of water, courtesy of Lion of the Peloton™ Peter Sagan‘s move in the final 50km that busted the race apart. But it was Olympic champion Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) who took his second Omloop victory in a three-up sprint with Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Sep Vanmarcke (Cannondale Drapac) second and third respectively.
The peloton has been very vowel orientated in their racing this past week – Andalucian Ruta del Sol, Volta ao Algarve and Tour of Oman – and we have the tweets to prove it. Big news of the week was the #Bala100 (sounds like what they would race in Breaking Away), a Schleck wedding, Belgium starts putting out Classics decorations and our gruppetto is filled with the joys and hard graft of cycling.