Omloop Het Nieuwsblad 2018 odds
Who wins Omloop Het Nieuwsblad 2018?
The Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, in its 73rd year, is an upcoming one-day professional road cycling race, taking place on Saturday 24th February 2018 in Belgian region of Flanders. It’s the fourth top-tier professional cycling race in the 2018 UCI World Tour, and the first in the Flemish cycling calendar.
The Belgian race consists of a lot of the same climbs as the Tour of Flanders, and the 2018 race will be even more like the Flanders Tour because the finale now includes the Wall of Geraardsbergen and Bosberg climbs.
The previous two years have been won by the Belgian, Greg Van Avermaet, from Team BMC. In 2017, he finished ahead of Peter Sagan and Sep Vanmarcke. Prior to the wins by Greg Van Avermaet, British rider Ian Stannard from Team Sky won back-to-back titles in 2014 and 2015.
The 2018 route
The 2018 race route differs from 2017 as this time it will see the riders travel from Ghent to Meerbeke. In previous years, the race has started and ended in Ghent. The new 196 km route means the riders will have to tackle more of the hills of the Flemish Ardennes. Additionally, due to its February date, the race is often associated with cold, wet weather, which can prove unpredictable for the pack on the steep hills and cobbled sections of the course. Cobbled sections of the race can be incredibly tough in wet conditions!
Over the course of the race, the riders will have to face the famous hellingen (hills) of Flanders, of which there are thirteen in total. The Leberg is the most common one of them all, appearing three times on the 2018 route.
The finale of the race makes for a particularly interesting finish, with the Wall of Geraardsbergen and Bosberg coming in quick succession. As the riders near the finish, they will be met with a 1 km cobbled climb. This is immediately followed by another cobbled section of climbing. However, after reaching the top of the Bosberg, the riders will then race down to the finish line in Meerbeke.
Who is joining the peloton?
Belgian riders have a rich history of winning in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. In fact, a Belgian rider has won the race fifty six times. There are only three riders still left cycling today who have won the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad twice. They are the British rider, Ian Stannard, and the two Belgians Greg Van Avermaet and Philippe Gilbert.
For the 2018 race, the peloton is going to include a strong line-up with some of cycling’s biggest names having confirmed their attendance. Expected to be in the pack is two-time winner Greg Van Avermaet, Arnaud Demare, Fernando Gaviria, Michael Matthews and previous winner Philippe Gilbert. However, one rider who will not be joining the race is the World Champion, and last year’s second placed rider, Peter Sagan.