Oh Boy, Here Come the Cobbles...
Tom (Boonen) op de Molenberg
The Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on Saturday will be followed by Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne a day later. The 68th running of the Omloop, aka Superbike will include ascents of twelve of the regions infamous helling, or bergs, including the Valkenberg, Molenberg, Haaghoek, and the Berendries, over a distance of 199 km. All three of last years finale protagonists will be in attendance - Tom Boonen, Juan Antonio Flecha, and racing for the double, at the head of Blanco Pro Cycling, Sep Vanmarcke. Expect a rejuvenated Thor Hushovd, Niki Terpstra, who may take the Omega Pharma-Quick Step leadership reins from Boonen, Filippo Pozzato and, an in-early-season form, Lars Boom to be in the action. One additional note of historical interest for this years race is the inclusion of the African MTN Qhubeka p/b Samsung team.
On Sunday, the 66th Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne takes place over 196 km and its own collection of bergs, including the Nokereberg, Kruisberg, and the Oude Kwaremont. Many of the racers who battled the previous day will again be active on Sunday, but there will be a couple additional riders to contend with - Mark Cavendish and Andre Greipel, each representing the two big home teams - Omega Pharma-Quick Step and Lotto Belisol, respectively.
Hold onto those bars, it's going to be a fast, bumpy ride.