The Women’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad takes place on the same day as the men’s race – 2nd March 2019. The route is a shortened version of the men’s with less trips on the Haaghoek/Leberg section and one whole less loop. The finish is the same though, a trip up the Muur de Geraardsbergen and the Bosberg before the run into Ninove.
For the first time I’ll be watching Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in person, so expect some photos on March 2nd.
Women’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad 2019 Contenders
Lets start with the obvious, Boel-Dolmans’ World Champion Anna Van Der Breggen. It’s her first race of 2019, but given her quality that’s not necessarily a bad thing. She’s not dominated Omloop in the same way as other races, but she won this race back in 2015. Next up is Canyon SRAM’s Tiffany Cromwell. She won Omloop in 2013 and also has 5 other top-10 results. She’s a solid bet for another high finish with that sort of consistency. Last year’s winner Christina Siggaard has to be considered a contender again. That win is a huge improvement on most of her previous results at Omloop however – so a repeat success might be a long-shot. Lucinda Brand is the other former winner in the field this year, having won in 2017. This will also be her first race of the 2019 season. She’s often found herself supporting others in this race with 6 top-30 results but only 2 in the top-10.
Chantal Blaak is the rider with the best results at Omloop but has never won it. She’s finished 2nd twice, a 3rd place and two 4th places. With Van Der Breggen working with her, she’s got a great chance at finally breaking the run and getting a win this year.
Ellen Van Dijk is another with strong results who hasn’t managed to win this race. She’s been on the second step of the podium twice, a 4th, twice 6th. If she manages to reach Ninove in the lead group, then she’s a good shout to out-sprint others for the win. Omloop Het Nieuwsblad doesn’t play to Annemiek Van Vleuten strengths – her best result is a 3rd place, however it’s impossible to rule her out. Her best chance is to make sure a reduced bunch reaches the finish by spreading out the peloton on the final climbs. American Alexis Ryan was 2nd in 2018 to notch her best result. On the same Canyon SRAM team as Tiffany Cromwell, it may come down to who is the leader on the day and best placed to win.
Aussie Chloe Hosking has solid results at Omloop – her best finish is 4th. She’s in good form in 2019 after racing back home and winning a stage in both the Tour Down Under and the Herald Sun Tour. Another who will be hoping for a bunch sprint in Ninove. On a new team for 2019 is Trek’s Elisa Longo Borghini. She’s raced in Australia in 2019 and finished 5th in the Great Ocean Road Race. She is a good shout for a top-10 position in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.
Sunweb’s Coryn Rivera finished 5th last year and is someone who can win a race by out-sprinting a small bunch. If a small group makes it clear after the Bosberg and Rivera is in it, she’ll be able to sneak a podium.
Ashleigh Moolman is the best bet for the CCC-Liv team. She’s raced here twice and finished 8th and 11th so clearly likes Omloop. She finished 3rd Overall in the Setmana Ciclista Valenciana last week so is in great form. Finally, there’s Christine Majerus who is the third option for Boels-Dolmans. She’s another one not to have raced in 2019 so far, but has 4 top-15 finishes in Omloop and should do similar this year.
Women’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad 2019 Outsiders
Janneke Ensing is one of the 3 main options for Team Sunweb after Brand and Rivera. She has 3 top-25 finishes in Omloop but her 5th Overall at Setmana Ciclista Valenciana last week shows she’s in the form to do well. Lotta Lepisto only has a best result of 18th in Omloop, but she won 2 stages of the Setmana Ciclista Valenciana last week so has the form to do something. Her history at this race makes her an outsider, but her form could make her a contender. Parkhotel Valkenburg’s Lorena Wiebes is only 19 years old but announced herself in 2018 with a series of strong results. She did particularly well in the 1.1 or 1.2 Belgian one-day races so hopefully she can improve on the 56th place she did at last year’s Omloop.
If this year’s race comes down to a sprint then Health Mate-Cyclelive’s Sara Mustonen stands a good chance. She’s finished 20th before, so could translate that form into a top 10 finish. Having moved to Hitec Products for 2019, Chanella Stougje will be hoping for a strong race in her first race of 2019. She finished 43rd last year but with a stronger team around her, she stands more of a chance of making it into the front pack. Chiara Consonni is a young rider for Valcar Cylance who has a sprint. Another 19 year old, she’s finished 7th in the Vuelta Valenciana at the start of February, beating the likes of Tiffany Cromwell. It’s her first Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, but she’s a rider we may be hearing more of in 2019.