Whatever else races might happen early in the year these days, for most long-term cycling fans the real season opener is still Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. Every single winner from the past five years is taking to the start line, and each has their own individual motivation to win it. From Boonen's return to Hushovd's World Champion jersey and from Gilbert's tenacity to Pozzato's slippery nudity, we'll be sure to see some furious racing from the hard-men. The route features such legendary climbs as the Valkenburg, Molenburg, and Muur, so there's no chance of any riders being able to take it easy.COVERAGE ON CYCLING TV
Subscribers can enjoy on-demand coverage of the 2011 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on Cycling TV, as well as live English commentary. See below for live timings and links to on-demand content. The 2011 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad is NOT available in Belgium, Denmark, France, Norway & Spain.
||26 February 2011, 13:25-16:00 (UTC)
||From 26 February 2011.
||From 26 February 2011.|
|Report||From 26 February 2011.|
|Interview||From 26 February 2011.|
ONES TO WATCH
|This bloke's won it twice before and isn't about to let his loftier ambitions for 2011 get in the way of taking another victory. Expect him to give it everything if he gets as sniff of a victory.
||That final sentence on Gilbert was mostly just a setup for us do have a laugh at Tom's expense, but 2008 called and said it wanted its joke back. He's been off the bike so long he'll be itching to win again.
||Juan Antonio Flecha
|The World Champion will take to the start line and has the skillset required to win, which he proved with his victory in 2009. Will the curse of the rainbow jersey strike again or will the mighty Thor be on top form?
||He's the defending champion and a thoroughly nice chap. Winning a race like this twice in a row can be a big ask, but it'll be interesting to see how the Sky riders are fairing coming in to the start of the season.