Omloop van het Hageland Race Information & History
Race Type: Flat Cobbled Classic
Omloop van het Hageland first took place in 2005 as Tielt Winge. It didn’t get its current name until 2011. The race began life as a criterium and formed part of the Wielertrofee Vlaanderen. From 2011 until 2015, the race was categorised as a 1.2 race – the lowest professional grading. 2016 saw the race promoted to 1.1 status, where it has remained.
2016 is also the first year that Omloop van het Hageland was run in the same weekend as the women’s Omloop het Nieuwsblad. Until then it had taken place around 1-2 weeks after the start of the European season. This scheduling move meant the opening of the women’s European season was more like the men’s calendar. Whilst the men race Kuurne Brussels Kuurne, the women race Omloop van het Hageland instead. as it stands, no one has won both races in a weekend.
The race has been fairly consistent over the last few years. A first long circuit takes rides to a finishing 15km circuit. The riders then complete 5 laps of this circuit. The Roeselberg comes roughly halfway round the loop which provides riders with a chance to attack and get a gap. There’s also the single ascent of the cobbles on Kerkstraat. Often the race comes down to a reduced bunch sprint to decide who wins. Ellen van Dijk showed in 2018 though that it’s possible to win with a solo attack.
There are 4 riders who have won Omloop van het Hageland twice, no rider has won 3 times. Emma Johansson won back-to-back in 2010 and 2011. Lizzie Deignan won in 2012 and 2014. Jolien d’Hoore won the 2015 and 2017 editions and Marta Bastianelli won in both of 2016 and 2019.
2018 Omloop van het Hageland
A bitterly cold day that saw puddles on the side of the road frozen over, the race went on. An early breakaway saw Marjolen Van’t Geloof and Femke Geeris take the front of the race. They were allowed to gain an advantage of 1 minutes 45 seconds at its greatest. Sunweb drove the peloton to close the gap. With the initial 2 riders brought back, Sunweb managed to split the peloton with 30km to go.
Despite some attacks, the front group didn’t push on and the peloton re-joined again. As this happened, 6 riders escaped off the front – Eri Yonamine, Amanda Spratt, Dani Rowe, Natalie van Gogh and Karol Ann Canuel. Sunweb once again led the chase to close the gap and were successful.
As this move got closed, Ellen van Dijk attacked with a few kilometres left to race. Despite the crosswinds, van Dijk stayed clear and won the 2018 Omloop van het Hageland by 12 seconds. Chloe Hosking and previous 2x winner Jolien d’Hoore rounded out the podium.
The Roeselberg is the biggest or steepest hill in the world, but it is in Omloop van het Hageland. Just 0.6km in length, it rises 45 metres in that time at an average of 7.5%. It acts as just tough enough to expose tired legs but if the racing hasn’t been aggressive then large bunch sprints can still take place.