12 “hellingen” and lots of cobblestones in spring opener
The 2013 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad will have some changes but the finale will be the same. Course director Peter Van Petegem expects another finish like this year, when Sep Vanmarcke (Garmin-Sharp) fought for the win against Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma QuickStep) and Juan Antonio Flecha (Team Sky).
The race, which is the traditional opener of the Belgian spring season, will be held on February 23, 2013.
“The approach is different, but we have not touched the final,” Van Petegem told the Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad, which sponsors the race.
The race features 12 “hellingen”, including Valkenberg, and the Molenberg. The riders will also have to go over the cobblestones of the Haaghoek three times.
While the last 40 km of the race remain unchanged, the first circuit has been made more difficult. The 2013 edition also sees the return of the Berendries climb.
“We do not really want to tinker with the course,” Van Petegem said, but he has to take road construction into consideration. “Therefore Wolvenberg road and the cobblestones of Mater are replace by the Varent.”