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Women’s Omloop het Nieuwsblad 2024 Race Preview


Women’s Omloop het Nieuwsblad History

The Omloop Het Nieuwsblad Women’s Race only made its debut in the Women’s WorldTour in 2022 but has been going for what feels like forever. Starting in 2006, the race has steadily climbed the ranks from 1.2 to 1.WWT. Its prestigious honours board boasts the names of cycling luminaries such as Van Vleuten, Van der Breggen, Van den Broek-Blaak, Brand, Deignan, Pieters, Johansson, and Wild. Notably, it witnessed Mie Lacota’s victorious debut before her cycling career faced its trials.

The 2022 edition featured a thrilling finale, with SD Worx rider Demi Vollering closely following Annemiek van Vleuten’s wheel for the final 10km from the Bosberg summit. While Lotte Kopecky’s presence in the chasing group influenced the dynamics, it was Van Vleuten’s formidable strength that set the stage. Despite expectations of an easy victory for Vollering, Van Vleuten’s relentless pace left her struggling, even in the draft. Van Vleuten’s decisive sprint sealed the win.

Last year memorably set the tone for Lotte Kopecky’s outstanding year that saw her wear the Tour de France Femmes yellow jersey and become World Champion. She went clear on the Muur van Geraardsbergen and was simply never caught again.

This year’s course retains iconic features like the Muur van Geraardsbergen and Bosberg finish, also known as the ‘old Tour of Flanders’ finish, and sees the Molenberg climb remain on the parcours. The narrow and challenging Molenberg, which was absent in 2022 due to roadworks, poses a significant test, with positioning crucial for success.

Since adopting the old Tour of Flanders route, solo victories have become commonplace, with recent winners like Van den Broek-Blaak, Van Vleuten, Kopecky and Van der Breggen triumphing alone. Notably, bunch sprints have become rare, with Christina Siggaard’s 2018 win being the last.

Previous Winners

Lotte Kopecky
Annemiek van Vleuten
Anna van der Breggen

Women’s Omloop het Nieuwsblad 2024 Profile

TV Coverage

Saturday 24th February 2024

Live on Eurosport/Discovery+ across most of Europe


All times in GMT

Twitter: #OHN24 or #OHNwomen

Startlist: FirstCycling

Women’s Omloop het Nieuwsblad 2024 Contenders

SD Worx comes here determined to win and the line-up to match. There is last year’s winner Lotte Kopecky who will be keen to rack up another win in Ninove, especially in the World Champion stripes. She has shown no signs of slowing down after winning the UAE Tour Women with a cracking climb on Jebel Hafeet. If someone is to beat Kopecky, then they surely will come from her own team. Lorena Wiebes is itching to win Omloop het Nieuwsblad after a couple of near-misses in recent years. Wiebes has finished 2nd and 3rd on the podium and comfortably takes the bunch sprint behind whoever has broken clear to win. She was 3rd in 2022 when Annemiek van Vleuten surprisingly beat Demi Vollering in a head-to-head sprint and 2nd behind Lotte Kopecky last year. It should play out much the same this year unless she can go clear with Kopecky this time. Demi Vollering had to play a supporting role here last year after not being able to put a gap in on the Muur van Geraardsbergen. After finishing 2nd the year before, 17th was a little bit of a bump to earth. It all played out well enough the rest of the year for her mind. We can realistically see a situation where SD Worx finishes this as a small group by themselves…at which point the finish will have to be defined to avoid the Strade Bianche incident. Finally, there’s Marlen Reusser who has also shown off her good form with a well-timed attack at Setmana Ciclista Valenciana to take a stage win. I can’t see her being allowed to win with the previous trio also racing but she will mark everything and put pressure on other teams.

Lidl-Trek comes here with a few cards to play with Elisa Balsamo probably the strongest. She’s usually matched how things have played out for Lorena Wiebes, doing well in the bunch sprint without getting close to the solo/duo ahead of them. She was 4th in 2022 and that feels like a podium could be on the cards this year after she has already got off the mark in Setmana Ciclista Valenciana this year. The joint most editions by a rider of Omloop het Nieuwsblad is Elisa Longo Borghini with 12 of them raced (Romy Kasper is the other rider). The Italian has the best result of 5th over all that time, secured in 2011 and 2017. She’s snuck into the bottom of the top-10 in 2 of the last 3 years and should end up somewhere similar supporting Balsamo. The team also has Lizzie Deignan who won back in 2016 and has 2 other podiums here as well. However, her only result here since that win in 2016 is 111th in 2021.

Emma Norsgaard will be the one to watch from Movistar, with the Dane finishing 2nd, 4th and 6th in the last 3 years. Keen to move away from being listed as a sprinter, she is strong enough to power over the Muur and still be able to contest for the line with her fast kick. We’ve already seen a way that she could win with the way she took the Tour de France Femmes stage win last year. SD Worx will probably be too strong but there is a way that she can be clear with the right people. Floortje Mackaij is a very useful support rider here and took 3rd at the 2020 Omloop het Nieuwsblad. She should be in support but could go on the attack to put pressure on other teams before the Muur. 

Marianne Vos is looking properly back on it again. She’s finished 2nd twice at Setmana Ciclista Valenciana, including on a climbing stage that saw big name GC riders dropped. Any doubts we had about where the GOAT’s form might lie after an off-season spent recovering from iliac artery surgery have been dispelled. In a scarcely believable statistic, Vos has never actually raced Omloop het Nieuwsblad over her entire lengthy career. You can still see a route to the podium for her though this year. Teammate Anna Henderson was a top-10 finisher here with 7th in 2022 and will either be elite support or able to step up if Vos does get dropped. One thing to note though is that she was a DNF at Setmana Ciclista Valenciana due to a crash.

For all her strengths, Omloop het Nieuwsblad has never really been a Kasia Niewiadoma race. The Pole has never cracked the top-10 here with a best finish of 12th back in 2017. She’s never looked strong on the Muur and naturally gets swamped in the sprint at the end. We have seen her finish well at Setmana Ciclista Valenciana already this year but it feels a tough ask to do it. Teammate Soraya Paladin has a faster finish and secured 9th last season. The Italian does best sprinting after tough races rather than the pure sprinters. She will be in the mix and should be able to get Canyon SRAM’s best result. Tiffany Cromwell is statistically impressive here and is one of just three former winners on the start list. Expectations should be tempered though as all 6 of her top-10 finishes came before 2017.

Similar to Niewiadoma, it’s never been much of a race for FDJ-Suez’s Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig either. The Dane only has a best finish of 17th place from 2021 and hasn’t looked likely to improve on that since either. It’s a surprise as you would expect her to be able to challenge on the climbs and maybe have a decent enough kick to challenge a little bit more than that at the end of the race. The likes of Marie Le Net and Vittoria Guazzini might also have fast finishes that could see them sneak into the top-10 but haven’t come close in previous editions. The 17th place by Uttrup Ludwig is the best finish by any FDJ-Suez rider on the startlist.

Pfeiffer Georgi should be getting the nod for Team dsm firmenich-PostNL here. The Brit was 5th in last year’s race and is becoming a genuine classics contender. She’s in good enough form to climb to 15th on Jebel Hafeet and overall at the UAE Tour Women recently as well. Teammate Francesca Barale also showed she has a fast finish in Australia with a trio of top-10 results ticked off already. She has never raced Omloop het Nieuwsblad before and should be deferring to Georgi but represents a potential fast option at the finish.

Chiara Consonni
Chiara Consonni

It’s hard to pick out who from UAE Team ADQ will have the best shout for a result. A strong line-up including the likes of Chiara Consonni, Sofia Bertizzolo, Silvia Persico and Karlijn Swinkels surprisingly have zero top-10 results at Omloop het Nieuwsblad between them. All of them have finished in the top-20 and regularly too. You can see how a big chase group will suit Chiara Consonni to sprint for a good placing and if it’s a bit tougher then Sofia Bertizzolo or Swinkels and sprint well from a reduced group. For Silvia Persico to do well, it probably needs a really hard split up race and a sprint from a group of about half a dozen near the end.

There’s a lot to like about Fenix-Deceuninck here, maybe not so much for the win but certainly for a strong top-10 finish. Christina Schweinberger was 8th here last season with a strong enough sprint at the end in the right group to take that result. She had a great 2023 season that didn’t see her win a race but came very close, and at the biggest events too. She should work in tandem with Julie de Wilde with both fast finishers it will come down to who manages to crest the Muur in the furthest forward group and hang on to the finish with the best legs. De Wilde is arguably a stronger sprinter but Schweinberger has probably claimed the leadership role. Marthe Truyen is also worth keeping an eye on as well as she can end up in the main group too. There’s also the small matter of Puck Pieterse who is coming off a strong cyclocross season and aiming for mountain bike gold in Paris this year. She’s effectively a wildcard with only a 5th at Strade Bianche and a mechanical-affected 36th at Omloop van het Hageland really to show for her road career so far.

After winning the Australian road title, Ruby Roseman-Gannon ended up being relatively quiet for the rest of the Australian season. She has a chance to put that right here in Flanders and will look to improve on the 12th place she got in 2022. The Aussie has a fast kick at the end of races and also has enough to get over climbs too. She represents Liv-AlUla-Jayco’s best shot for a result here.

Uno-X will look to Maria Giulia Confalonieri, Simone Boilard and Anouska Koster for a good result. Confalonieri has the best previous result of the trio with 3rd place in 2018 backed up by an 8th in 2022. Anouska Koster was 6th herself last season as well, sprinting well at the end of a tough race. Simone Boilard will be worth keeping an eye on as well after scoring top-10s this season in Spain. The Canadian got 5th at Trofeo Felanitx-Colònia de Sant Jordi and 8th at Trofeo Palma Femina recently. 

Noemi Rüegg will be a solid option for EF Education-Cannondale in the form she’s in at the moment. The Swiss rider won Trofeo Felanitx-Colonia de Sant Jordi and has followed that up with 2nd at Trofeo Binissalem-Andratx and 3rd on the opening stage of Setmana Ciclista Valenciana. Those results have made her one of the stars of the early 2024 season and it will be interesting to see if that form transfers across from Spain to the tight roads of Flanders.

Women’s Omloop het Nieuwsblad 2024 Outsiders

Kim le Court

It’s impossible to know for sure how Kim Le Court will get on at Omloop het Nieuwsblad. We know the Mauritian has a strong mountain biking background and that can transfer over to the road (see Ferrand-Prevot and Neff) but so much about racing in Flanders is down to knowledge of the roads too. She’s raced a bit in Flanders before but that was back in the 2015 and 2016 seasons with the results impossible to compare due to Le Court being very much a stronger rider now. 9th in the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race is a good indicator of form this season.

Ruth Edwards made a strong start to her return to the peloton in Australia, finishing 4th in the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race. The American has done well in Flandrian races in the past, famously winning Brabantse Pijl whilst Demi Vollering was already celebrating. Omloop het Nieuwsblad is a fairly challenging re-introduction to the close-knit racing on narrow roads but Edwards could still match her 15th place in 2020. 

Lotto Dstny’s Thalita de Jong seems to be in good form to start the year. The Dutch rider has been bouncing just inside and outside of the top-10 at Setmana Ciclista Valenciana. Particularly impressing with 9th on a hilly second stage against GC riders. It’s hopefully a sign that she will be back on it for this Classics season after a relatively quiet couple of years at Liv Racing.

There are a few options at Cofidis including Victoire Berteau, Valentine Fortin and Sarah Roy. Berteau we’ve seen on the attack this season, almost holding off the bunch on the opening stage of the Setmana Ciclista Valenciana. Valentine Fortin is showing that she can be a good sprinting option on a one-day race, plus has finished 5th in the UAE this year. Sarah Roy was impressive again in Australia, finishing 8th in the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race. She has the team’s best previous result at Omloop het Nieuwsblad with 12th and 13th in the last couple of seasons.

Top 3 Prediction