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Women’s Omloop van het Hageland 2024 Race Preview

Omloop van het Hageland 2023 Podium Bastianelli Wiebes Cordon-Ragot

Women’s Omloop van het Hageland History

The Omloop van het Hageland is a key event in women’s cycling, serving as the second part of the women’s Opening Weekend to the classics season. It fills the gap left by there being no women’s Kuurne Brussels Kuurne and is known for thrilling sprints. Riders like Marta Bastianelli, Jolien d’Hoore, Lizzie Deignan, and Emma Johansson have enjoyed multiple victories, adding to the race’s prestige.

While not the toughest, the route features enough small climbs to keep it interesting. Weather conditions often play a role, leading to breakaways and solo efforts. In 2023, Lorena Wiebes secured victory for SD Worx in a challenging race from Aarschot to Tielt-Winge.

Starting in 2007, the Omloop van het Hageland has evolved from a 1.2 to a 1.1 category race. Formerly known as Tielt-Winge (Wielertrofee Vlaanderen), it boasts a flat route with cobbles and the Roeselberg climb, suitable for sprinters and breakaway specialists alike.

Previous Winners

Lorena Wiebes
Marta Bastianelli
Not held

Women’s Omloop van het Hageland 2024 Profile

TV Coverage

Sunday 25th February 2024

Live on Vimeo, also French Pickx and Dutch Pickx

All times in GMT

Twitter: #OmloopHageland

Startlist: FirstCycling

Women’s Omloop van het Hageland 2024 Contenders

As one of the 4 riders to have won Omloop van het Hageland twice, Lorena Wiebes will be vying to join Marta Bastianelli on 3 wins this year. If it comes down to a sprint, there’s little chance for other riders and with Wiebes looking stronger uphill than ever it will be tough to drop her beforehand as well. She will be locked in as a favourite. The SD Worx team will ride largely in support but Marlen Reusser is a rider who we know can just tick off the front and not be caught again. We got a reminder of that at the Setmana Ciclista Valenciana where she was able to win a stage solo and hang on over the climbs to win the GC too. She will either be in charge of controlling the bunch or be used as an attacking option for the team.

Elisa Balsamo will try and challenge Lorena Wiebes here, strangely for the first time. Elisa Balsamo has never raced Omloop van het Hageland before but the Italian seems ideally suited to a race with short climbs that ends in a sprint. Balsamo can beat Wiebes but in a race where Wiebes is a double winner already it feels like a tough ask for this to be added to the tally. She will have a super strong lead-out though in Clara Copponi. The French rider was 6th here whilst racing for FDJ in 2022 and she just needs to deliver something similar to that to get Balsamo into a great position to launch her own sprint.

We’re getting the full Big 3 sprinter battle at this year’s Omloop van het Hageland with Charlotte Kool down to start after missing out on the UAE Tour Women due to illness. Kool is slightly weaker on the hills compared to Balsamo and Wiebes, so there is a way for the teams of those 2 stars to work to drop Kool before the end. However, when it comes down to the actual sprint, Kool will be a massive threat to Wiebes with a big lead-out that includes Rachele Barbieri, Franziska Koch and Pfeiffer Georgi. The latter can pivot to be her own threat in this race and ideally would try to make it as hard as possible before the end if Kool isn’t 100% again.

Emma Norsgaard
Emma Norsgaard

Movistar will be racing for Emma Norsgaard who has done well here in previous seasons. She has never finished off the podium as it happens with 2nd in 2022 and 3rd in 2020. She is naturally back at Omloop van het Hageland in 2024 as her year on, year off pattern continues. The Dane certainly suits the hilly course and should be one of the faster finishers, even if she is up against the big 3 sprinters this year.

Julie de Wilde finished in the top-10 here last season, securing 7th in the final sprint. The Belgian should be a contender once more as she begins the classics season with a good result. Marthe Truyen will probably end up leading out De Wilde but might get a promotion if anything happens to De Wilde along the way. There’s also the wildcard of Puck Pieterse that Fenix-Deceuninck can play. She went on the attack plenty in this race last year but got hampered by a mechanical which removed her from the front group. She will be aiming to do well here with Strade Bianche the main target coming up.

Lifeplus-Wahoo can call on Heidi Franz and Kristyna Burlova to challenge here. Both were good whilst racing in Australia last month, with Burlova’s results interrupted a bit by suffering a pretty big crash during the Tour Down Under. Burlova was 4th on the opening stage in a strong sprint but had already crashed that day and subsequently didn’t race the next day. The Czech has been racing in Belgium the last few years so the local features shouldn’t be an issue but Burlova might struggle a little bit on the climbs here. That’s where Heidi Franz steps in with the American a little bit more resistant to the gradients. That allowed her to finish 5th on a Tour Down Under stage. It might be tough against the purer sprinters here but a top-10 is possible.

Eleonora Gasparrini

UAE Team ADQ’s Eleonora Gasparrini should be a threat here and we know the Italian’s in good form after taking a win in 2024 already at Trofeo Binissalem-Andratx. She’s often a lead-out rider for the likes of Elisa Balsamo, Marta Bastianelli and Chiara Consonni but Gasparrini is just starting to punch out more opportunities for herself. She should be a top-10 finisher but expectations might just have to be tempered due to a crash suffered in Setmana Ciclista Valenciana that saw her have to leave the race early.

Letizia Borghesi has twice finished just outside of the top-10 at Omloop van het Hageland and will be looking to improve on her 11th from last year. Her best result so far in 2024 is 9th at Trofeo Palma Femina. Teammate Coryn Labecki has a 5th place here from the distant past of 2015.  I see her role this year being more of a lead-out for Borghesi going into the finish.

Finally, Roxane Fournier traditionally does well in this race. The French rider has 4 top-10 finishes at Omloop van het Hageland since 2017 and a full 12 editions under her belt to be comfortably the most experienced rider of this race. She didn’t quite manage to get inside the top-10 at the UAE Tour Women but did at the Tour Down Under. She’s got decent enough form mixed in with the past results to be a solid bet for the top-10 again this season.

Women’s Omloop van het Hageland 2024 Outsiders

Anna Trevisi
Anna Trevisi

Liv-AlUla-Jayco will have to decide on the day who they go with for the sprint finish that’s expected. They can go with the young Brit Emma Jeffers who famously won Tour Series races whilst stuck on junior gears. The alternative is the experienced Anna Trevisi who delivered Marta Bastianelli to wins here in the past. Trevisi has a number of Belgian top-10s of her own over the years and this might finally be more of an opportunity to get a crack at a bigger race. As a Brit, it would be nice to see Jeffers get the nod to see what she can do against this sort of field.

Laura Lizette Sander of AG Insurance U23 finished off the 2023 season with 10th place at Binche-Chimay-Binche, a hilly Belgian one-day race. That combined with some good sprint finishes in smaller races like the Princess Vasa stage race might make her a challenge for the top-10 here. The Estonian is only 19 years old and is marked as one to watch already, it just depends on when this season the result will come.

Coop-Repsol should be behind Eline van Rooijen here. The young Dutch rider won the Grote Prijs Yvonne Reynders late last season and has been inside the top-20 in Women’s WorldTour level sprints for her new team in 2024. She’s got a chance to improve on there here and get into the top-15 and maybe higher. Monica Greenwood will also be a useful rider here after finishing 4th at Leiedal Koerse and 5th in GP Eco-struct last season. She’s got a quick finish from a reduced group but will need the race to split up to really show that off. 

There’s always plenty of potential on the USA National team when it races over in Europe but the question is always about how well they will transition to the narrow roads for Flanders. Skylar Schneider certainly has more experience than most after 3 years racing for what is now SD Worx. She took top-10s in GP Eco-struct and Trofee Maarten Wynants last season for good measure. Shayna Powless also had a good go of things in European races last year with a best finish of 6th at the Tour de l’Ardeche and a number of results just outside of the top-10. 

Top 3 Prediction