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Omloop Het Nieuwsblad: Wout van Aert makes sizzling solo move for cobblestone triumph

Van Aert attacks over Bosberg before holding off 19-rider chase.

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Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) launched a crushing attack over the cobbled Bosberg climb to drop the peloton and win Omloop Het Nieuwsblad solo.

Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Victorious) won the sprint for second around 20 seconds back, while Greg Van Avermaet (Ag2r-Citroën) rounded out the podium.

Van Aert and his Jumbo-Visma team had been active in controlling and attacking through the final hour of the classics curtain-raiser, setting a fierce tempo before van Aert and new signing Tiesj Benoot formed part of a dangerous move in the final 30km.

Van Aert and Benoot’s first effort was nullified by the bunch not long before the final climb of the day before the Belgian champ went again 12km from the finish. The Jumbo-Visma captain’s effort over the Bosberg soon created a gap, and from there, no amount of chasers was stopping him.

The victory sets van Aert off to the perfect start of a spring campaign centered around the Tour of Flanders/Paris-Roubaix doubleheader in April. The 27-year-old can add the Omloop result to a stacked palmarès including Tour de France stages and victories at Milano-Sanremo, Amstel Gold, Strade Bianche, and Gent-Wevelgem.

“I didn’t think it would go so well in advance, but I was well prepared,” he said. “It’s hard to say if I can stretch this shape to Roubaix, but purely in terms of intensity, there is still something to add. I was good, but the Ronde and Roubaix are even more important, so I hope I can improve a bit. Hopefully we can build on this.”

Van Aert also had the poise to speak out in support of Ukraine in the dramatic conflict playing out in Europe.

“I want to add, bike racing is the most important side issue in the world, with the emphasis on ‘side’. It’s madness that war is still possible today, and so close. For what it’s worth, I would like to express my support to everyone involved in Ukraine.”

Although it was Jumbo-Visma that dictated the final, Ineos Grenadiers and Lotto-Soudal both looked intent on making the race hard to wipe out a sprint in the opening phases.

Magnus Sheffield (Ineos Grenadiers) made the first skirmish out of the bunch in what was his senior classics debut at around 65km to go and lasted some 5km before dropping back to the group.

Lotto-Soudal was aggressive all day, despite seeing Tim Wellens DNS due to illness. Philippe Gilbert tried first before Paris-Roubaix star Florian Vermeersch bust out of the bunch with Loic Vliegen (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) on his wheel. TT king Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ) bridged across and the trio joined the remnants of the day’s early break to form nine out front.

Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl was quiet all through the opening hours of racing as Jumbo-Visma did much of the monitoring in the bunch.

It was only at 40km to go with the crucial Marlboroughstraat climb in the horizon that Lefvere’s crew moved up in the still-massed peloton to muscle alongside Jumbo-Visma.

Jumbo-Visma and Bahrain-Victorious were next trying to split up the race as some three-score riders still sat together. Meanwhile, teams with fast finishers like Trek-Segafredo and Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl left the race in others’ control.

Jumbo Visma began to bring the race into van Aert’s hands in the final 30km. Benoot lit up the race for Jumbo-Visma over the paved Berendries climb and forced a dangerous split with van Aert, Colbrelli, Tom Pidcock, and Jonathan Narvaez (both Ineos Grenadiers).

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The five motored over and joined the break, and started pulling away from the peloton before Benoot struck out solo.

UAE Team Emirates, Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl and Trek-Segafredo all missed this move and started chasing before things got out of control. The injection of pace reeled in van Aert and Co. as well as a skirmishing move from Benoot to see the race back together once ahead of the final climb of the day.

No sooner had the race reformed when van Aert made his decisive move over the cobbled Bosberg. The Belgian champ took 10 seconds over the summit and began time trialing away as the sprinter teams combined in the chase.

Van Aert continued stretching his lead through the flat final as a bunch of 19 rode through-and-off in the chase. Van Aert wasn’t to be caught however and only stretched his lead to take it to the line solo.

Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) was one of the major casualties from a flurry of crashes in the penultimate hour. The Colombian speedster hit the pavement with a handful of others at 40km to go and was reported to have broken his collarbone.

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad ME Results

1VAN AERT WoutJumbo-Visma4:50:46
2COLBRELLI SonnyBahrain - Victorious0:22
3VAN AVERMAET GregAG2R Citroën Team0:22
4NAESEN OliverAG2R Citroën Team0:22
5CAMPENAERTS VictorLotto Soudal0:22
6TILLER RasmusUno-X Pro Cycling Team0:22
7TRENTIN MatteoUAE Team Emirates0:22
8PASQUALON AndreaIntermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux0:22
9SÉNÉCHAL FlorianQuick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team0:22
10STUYVEN JasperTrek - Segafredo0:22
11CLARKE SimonIsrael - Premier Tech0:25
12KÜNG StefanGroupama - FDJ0:25
13ARANBURU AlexMovistar Team0:25
14LOUVEL MatisTeam Arkéa Samsic0:25
15KIRSCH AlexTrek - Segafredo0:25
16DOULL OwainEF Education-EasyPost0:25
17MOHORIČ MatejBahrain - Victorious0:25
18PIDCOCK ThomasINEOS Grenadiers0:27
19LUDVIGSSON TobiasGroupama - FDJ0:32
20WRIGHT FredBahrain - Victorious0:42
21HAYTER EthanINEOS Grenadiers1:20
22HAUSSLER HeinrichBahrain - Victorious1:30
23CAPIOT AmauryTeam Arkéa Samsic1:30
24TEUNISSEN MikeJumbo-Visma1:30
25VAN GESTEL DriesTotalEnergies1:30
26MOZZATO LucaB&B Hotels - KTM1:30
27POLITT NilsBORA - hansgrohe1:30
28DVERSNES FredrikUno-X Pro Cycling Team1:30
29LIVYNS ArjenBingoal Pauwels Sauces WB1:30
30GARCÍA CORTINA IvánMovistar Team1:30
31DE BONDT DriesAlpecin-Fenix1:30
32DE BUYST JasperLotto Soudal1:30
33BOIVIN GuillaumeIsrael - Premier Tech1:30
34NARVÁEZ JhonatanINEOS Grenadiers1:30
35SWIFT ConnorTeam Arkéa Samsic1:30
36WARLOP JordiB&B Hotels - KTM1:30
37BIERMANS JentheIsrael - Premier Tech1:30
38LIENHARD FabianGroupama - FDJ1:30
39VAN MOER BrentLotto Soudal1:30
40GILBERT PhilippeLotto Soudal1:30
41COQUARD BryanCofidis1:30
42SKAARSETH AndersUno-X Pro Cycling Team1:30
43DEGENKOLB JohnTeam DSM1:30
44REX LaurenzBingoal Pauwels Sauces WB1:30
45DEWULF StanAG2R Citroën Team1:30
46VAN ROOY KennethSport Vlaanderen - Baloise1:30
47KOCH JonasBORA - hansgrohe1:30
48VAUQUELIN KévinTeam Arkéa Samsic1:30
49SWIFT BenINEOS Grenadiers1:30
50SKUJIŅŠ TomsTrek - Segafredo1:30
51VLIEGEN LoïcIntermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux1:30
52TOUZÉ DamienAG2R Citroën Team1:30
53CONSONNI SimoneCofidis1:30
54MEURISSE XandroAlpecin-Fenix1:30
55OSS DanielTotalEnergies1:30
56JOHANNESSEN Tobias HallandUno-X Pro Cycling Team1:30
57HVIDEBERG Jonas IversbyTeam DSM1:30
58GOGL MichaelAlpecin-Fenix1:30
59TURNER BenINEOS Grenadiers1:30
60KRISTOFF AlexanderIntermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux1:30
61VERMEERSCH FlorianLotto Soudal1:30
62ŠTYBAR ZdeněkQuick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team1:30
63LAZKANO OierMovistar Team1:30
64OLIVEIRA RuiUAE Team Emirates1:30
65VANHOOF WardSport Vlaanderen - Baloise1:30
66BENOOT TiesjJumbo-Visma1:30
67EENKHOORN PascalJumbo-Visma1:30
68VAN HOOYDONCK NathanJumbo-Visma1:30
69LE GAC OlivierGroupama - FDJ1:30
70VAN ASBROECK TomIsrael - Premier Tech1:30
71DE GENDT AiméIntermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux1:30
72LAMPAERT YvesQuick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team1:30
73HOULE HugoIsrael - Premier Tech1:30
74SÁNCHEZ Luis LeónBahrain - Victorious1:30
75HEALY BenEF Education-EasyPost1:30
76ASGREEN KasperQuick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team1:30
77MCLAY DanielTeam Arkéa Samsic1:30
78ASKEY LewisGroupama - FDJ1:30
79BOHLI TomCofidis1:30
80LAENGEN Vegard StakeUAE Team Emirates1:30
81GRADEK KamilBahrain - Victorious1:30
82PETIT AdrienIntermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux2:16
83CLAEYS DimitriIntermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux2:31
84DE PESTEL SanderSport Vlaanderen - Baloise5:04
85HULGAARD MortenUno-X Pro Cycling Team5:04
86HOLLMANN JuriMovistar Team5:04
87RESELL Erik NordsæterUno-X Pro Cycling Team5:04
88BLOUWE LouisBingoal Pauwels Sauces WB5:49
89BYSTRØM Sven ErikIntermarché - Wanty - Gobert Matériaux5:49
90VAN KEIRSBULCK GuillaumeAlpecin-Fenix5:49
91VAN HOECKE GijsAG2R Citroën Team5:49
92GRUZDEV DmitriyAstana Qazaqstan Team5:49
93KEUKELEIRE JensEF Education-EasyPost5:49
94LEYSEN SenneAlpecin-Fenix5:49
95ANIOŁKOWSKI StanisławBingoal Pauwels Sauces WB5:49
96RUSSO ClémentTeam Arkéa Samsic5:49
97VERGAERDE OttoTrek - Segafredo5:49
98SAGAN PeterTotalEnergies5:49
99LECROQ JérémyB&B Hotels - KTM5:49
100THEUNS EdwardTrek - Segafredo5:49
101HOOLE DaanTrek - Segafredo5:49
102SCHÄR MichaelAG2R Citroën Team5:49
104DE VYLDER LindsaySport Vlaanderen - Baloise8:33
105GRONDIN DonavanTeam Arkéa Samsic8:33
106DUPONT TimothyBingoal Pauwels Sauces WB8:33
107VERWILST AaronSport Vlaanderen - Baloise8:33
108SHEFFIELD MagnusINEOS Grenadiers8:33
109MAAS JanTeam BikeExchange - Jayco8:33
110GIBBONS RyanUAE Team Emirates8:33
111MAS LluísMovistar Team8:33
112SMITH DionTeam BikeExchange - Jayco8:33
113MORICE JulienB&B Hotels - KTM8:33
114MEEUS JordiBORA - hansgrohe8:33
115PÖSTLBERGER LukasBORA - hansgrohe8:33
116APERS RubenSport Vlaanderen - Baloise8:33
117BAYER TobiasAlpecin-Fenix11:56
118GAMPER PatrickBORA - hansgrohe11:56
119MARIT ArneSport Vlaanderen - Baloise11:56
120VAN DER SANDE ToshJumbo-Visma11:56
121BASSO LeonardoAstana Qazaqstan Team11:56
122MOSCON GianniAstana Qazaqstan Team11:56
123SWEENY HarryLotto Soudal11:56
124LEMOINE CyrilB&B Hotels - KTM11:56

Results provided by ProCyclingStats.