Marianne Vos wins at debut in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.

Written by: ProCycling Women
Posted 2 months ago

Out of a lead group of five of the best riders in the women’s peloton, Marianne Vos made the best debut in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad imaginable. The Dutch rider, who underwent surgery on iliac artery in her left leg last august and only returned to racing in Valencia nine days ago, was the fastest in the sprint in Ninove, beating world champion Lotte Kopecky and long term ‘rival’ Elisa Longo Borghini.

Pre-race interviews

Shirin van Anrooij (LIDL-Trek)

Alice Towers (Canyon//SRAM Racing)

Romy Kasper (Human Powered Health)

As the cycling world turned its eyes towards Ghent for what a particularly Belgian colored fraction of the cycling world still calls the ‘season opener’, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad did absolutely not disappoint, with an interesting breakaway that some may call ‘exotic’, an elite group in the finale, a beatable SD Worx – Pro Time collective, a World Champion hunting for classics success and … Marianne Vos, who at 36 and only just returned from surgery in August made her debut (!) in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad surprising many, including herself.

Marianne Vos, with a big smile, said: “This is incredibly beautiful. Winning is always special because it’s never guaranteed, but with this kind of preparation, it’s even more remarkable. I am truly enjoying this victory.”

Following her surgery, Vos was unable to train for about five weeks. Consequently, she decided to skip the cyclocross season and focus on road racing instead. She recently competed in Valencia, where she finished second twice. Today, she was finally able to raise her hands in victory, although that was far from a certainty.

The finale of the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad was challenging, marked by numerous attacks. “So, I was never quite sure if I was making the right decision. It all came down to the sprint, and I wasn’t too confident in my sprinting abilities after such a tough finale. And then there was Kopecky, who is fast, still in the mix,” Vos analyzed.

This is incredibly beautiful. Winning is always special because it's never guaranteed

How it unfolded

The race kicked off in Ghent with anticipation in the air, as fans lined the streets to cheer on the peloton as a whole and one rider in particular. World Champion Lotte Kopecky was the absolute race favourite, drawing significant attention and support by fans welcoming ‘their World Champion’ home.

As the peloton rolled out, the first significant move occurred just before the Lange Munte cobbled section. A breakaway of three riders quickly established a gap: Dutchwoman Marieke de Groot, Israeli Rotem Gafinovitz and Brazilian champion Tota Magalhães. Later, Belgian Marieke Meert and Dutch Maaike Coljé expanded the leading trio to a quintet. Their advantage grew to over six minutes and the gap maintained that big until under 60 kilometers to the line. The peloton behind them splintered under the high pace in the chase.

The race truly ignited when Elisa Longo Borghini accelerated just before the ascent of the Berendries. The Italian champion caught up with the escapees, but was subsequently overtaken on the Muur van Geraardsbergen by Lotte Kopecky, Marianne Vos, and Shirin van Anrooij in succession. Behind them, Demi Vollering, Kasia Niewiadoma, Puck Pieterse, and a strong returning Talitha de Jong couldn’t keep up.

At the front, once again, it was predominantly Lidl-Trek rider Longo Borghini driving the quartet, initially with long pulls at the front, later alternating attacks with teammate Van Anrooij. As a result of clever riding from Marianne Vos, who relied on her sprinting capacities, and strong comebacks from Lotte Kopecky, neither managed to break away. Thus, a sprint between the four leaders in the streets of Ninove was inevitable. Marianne Vos was clearly the strongest in that sprint, completing the double for her team Visma-Lease a Bike after, Jan Tratnik, also from Visma-Lease a Bike, had won the men’s edition about an hour earlier.

© Flanders Classics

Lotte Kopecky, finishing second: “I hoped for more”. Kopecky sprinted to second place in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. The world champion accelerated on the Muur and the Bosberg, reducing the leading group to four riders. In the sprint, the world champion was second after Marianne Vos. “I did everything I could and rode quite a good race, but Marianne was just faster in the end,” said an honest Kopecky.

📸 © Getty Sport/ Team SD Worx – Protime

As we wrap up our coverage from Ghent, we look forward to bringing you more action, insights, and interviews from the heart of cycling. Don’t forget to check our app for a detailed race report. Share our content on social media and join us for the next race on the calendar, the Strade Bianche in Italy.

For a comprehensive look at the results and more detailed insights into the race dynamics, click on the results button in our app.

Share this article:
Download our App for:
© ProCycling Women 2024