Strong Vos Triumphs in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad Debut

Marianne Vos 2024 Omloop het Nieuwsblad

Marianne Vos made an impressive debut in the Belgian spring classic, clinching victory in the prestigious Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. The seasoned rider from Team Visma | Lease a Bike showcased her resilience and sprinting prowess, outpacing world champion Lotte Kopecky and Elisa Longo Borghini in a thrilling finale.

The race unfolded with a breakaway trio establishing an early lead within the first 20 kilometres of the 127.1-kilometre race. Marieke de Groot, Rotem Gafinovitz, and Brazilian champion Tota Magalhães quickly built a four-minute gap. As the race progressed, Marieke Meert and Maaike Coljé joined the leading trio with 76 kilometres remaining, forming a formidable front group. Despite the peloton initially allowing the gap to expand to 7:30 minutes with 70 kilometres to go, they gradually reeled in the breakaway.

Approaching the two-kilometre cobblestone section of the Haaghoek with 35 kilometres left, the gap had narrowed to just over three minutes. It was at this point that Elisa Longo Borghini launched a solo pursuit on the cobbles, further diminishing the gap between the breakaway and the chasing peloton.

Further drama unfolded 28 kilometres from the finish as a select group of favourites surged ahead from the peloton. Among them were riders like Lotte Kopecky, Demi Vollering, and Lorena Wiebes of SD Worx-Protime, as well as Kasia Niewiadoma of Canyon-SRAM, Marianne Vos, and Shirin Van Anrooij. This elite group navigated the challenging terrain, with Longo Borghini eventually bridging to them on the ascent of the Vossenhol climb.

With 25 kilometres remaining, Longo Borghini showcased her strength by dropping her former breakaway companions and going solo once more. She maintained a slim ten-second lead as she tackled the final climbs, crossing the Dender River with 17 kilometres to go and beginning the ascent of the Muur van Geraardsbergen, where the race’s decisive moves were made.

Following the lead of the Italian champion, Kasia Niewiadoma spearheaded the pursuit of the favourites’ group until Lotte Kopecky surged forward on the steepest stretch of the Muur. With Marianne Vos in tow, they swiftly overtook Longo Borghini, who admirably maintained their pace, while Shirin Van Anrooij rejoined them over the final ascent, the Kapelmuur.

As they descended, the quartet gained a ten-second advantage over a chasing group comprising Demi Vollering, Kasia Niewiadoma, Puck Pieterse, and Thalita de Jong, extending their lead further as they approached the day’s final climb, the Bosberg.

When Kopecky launched her attack on the Bosberg, Vos shadowed her closely, and the two riders from Lidl-Trek quickly closed the gap after the climb. Longo Borghini initiated a move at the ten-kilometre mark, with Vos sticking to her wheel, but Kopecky successfully reeled them back in. Subsequently, Van Anrooij made a bold move with six kilometres remaining, prompting Vos to respond and shut down her attack. Longo Borghini attempted another move from the rear, but Vos maintained composure, compelling Kopecky to bridge the gap once more.

In the final two kilometres, Kopecky managed to close the distance, and Van Anrooij launched a final attack, only to be thwarted by Kopecky. As they entered the last kilometre, Vos asserted her dominance in the sprint, clinching victory in a thrilling conclusion to the race.

Post-race thoughts

In an interview following her victory, Vos expressed her elation, emphasising the significance of starting the season on such a high note, especially in her debut appearance at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. She acknowledged the demanding nature of the race, particularly the need to closely monitor Kopecky’s aggressive moves during the crucial climbs.

“It was a very tough race,” Vos remarked. “Everyone knew how strong Kopecky was. On the road, she showed she had a set of good legs. It was clear she was going to try to attack on the Kapelmuur and on the Bosberg. So it was all hands on deck to follow her there.”

Reflecting on her victory, Vos expressed gratitude for the unwavering support she received during her recovery period, emphasising the importance of meticulous preparation and determination. “It’s very nice to see how my family, my girlfriend, and my friends sympathised with this story,” she shared. “It was a long road to be back here, but I was able to prepare optimally for this start of the season. I am very happy.”

Despite narrowly missing out on victory, Lotte Kopecky acknowledged Vos’ exceptional sprinting abilities, conceding defeat with grace. “I did everything I could to make the difference,” Kopecky stated. “I rode quite a good race, but I had hoped for more, of course. Marianne was just faster in the sprint.”

Today’s podium of Lotte Kopecky, Marianne Vos and Elisa Longo Borghini
(Photo Credit: BELGA)

Kopecky’s sentiment was echoed by sports director Lars Boom, who commended the team’s performance and expressed optimism for the upcoming races. “We are fine,” Boom remarked. “Marianne Vos has plenty of experience and dares to play poker. Lotte rode a strong course. Hopefully, there will be a nice spring to come.”

Meanwhile, the tactical prowess of Lidl-Trek was evident throughout the race, with Elisa Longo Borghini and Shirin van Anrooij animating the competition with aggressive attacks. Longo Borghini’s third-place finish, coupled with Van Anrooij’s fourth-place result, showcased the team’s determination and resilience.

Overall, Vos’ triumphant debut in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, alongside the spirited performances of Kopecky, Longo Borghini, and the Lidl-Trek team, sets the stage for an exhilarating classics season ahead, promising fans a thrilling spectacle of elite cycling prowess.

2024 Women’s Omloop het Nieuwsblad result

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Main photo credit: Cor Vos

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