Omloop: Van Baarle solo wins the first Belgian classic of the year | Sports| The USA Print

Omloop: Van Baarle solo wins the first Belgian classic of the year |  Sports

Dylan van Baarle, who in 2023 is playing his first season with the Jumbo-Visma team from Ineos, has won the first Belgian classic of the season alone this Saturday, the 78th edition of the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, played between Ghent and Ninove in a route of 207.3 kilometers. Van Baarle, 30, sealed the seventh win of his career and the first since Paris-Roubaix gained popularity last year. The Dutchman reached the finish line alone with a 20-second margin over a pack led by Belgian Arnaud de Lie (Lotto Dstny), who recovered from a fall in the early part of the race, and Frenchman Christophe Laporte (Jumbo -Visma),

After a friction caused by the constant attacks of his teammates -six of the seven Jumbo riders tried to make an authoritative blow with 100km to go-, Van Baarle made his decisive acceleration with 40km to go. The Jumbo-Visma rider broke away with three other riders after the Wolvenberg, then trailed his breakaway companions one by one on the remaining climbs to take victory.

“I attacked on instinct at a time when everyone was in a difficult situation,” Van Baarle said. Only the young French runner Mathis Le Berre (21) was able to follow him occasionally. “We were always in control. The plan was to make the race tougher from the start. What the boys did was enormous”, explained the colossus of Voorburg. Van Baarle, winner of Paris-Roubaix last year, was competing in his first race in 2023 in this opening event of the cycling season in Belgium.

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“I came here to win,” said Arnaud De Lie, whose plans were thwarted by the crash, forcing him to make a long effort to get back to the top. The Lescheret bull, a nickname enhanced by the imposing size of him and his hometown, stirred up the pack behind Van Baarle.

His compatriot Tim Wellens also helped. The sprinter was masterful on the climb of the Mur de Grammont, ten miles from Ninove, where many runners had to drop. British runner Tom Pidcock was unable to hold off the chase from Van Baarle, who was also joined by Laporte.

In the women’s race, for her part, Lotte Kopecky, from SD Worx, also won solo after being the strongest in the Muur. The Belgian runner is the first of this nationality in the Omloop record.

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