The first Omloop Het Volk (UCI 1.2) for women will be ridden this Sunday, March 12, between the Belgian towns of Deerlijk and Deinze. Despite its name, the parcours will be completely different to the men's Het Volk that was won by Philippe Gilbert just over a week ago. The total distance is 91 km, consisting of 46 km between Deerlijk and Deinze, then three 15 km finishing circuits. There are four climbs in the first half: Waregemseweg (km 18 and 32), Nokereberg (km 23), and Brugstraat (km 34), and one cobbled section: Herlegemstraat (km 29).
23 teams are expected to take part, making for a big field. Anita Valen (@Work Cycling Team), Mirjam Melchers-van Poppel and Susanne Ljungskog (Buitenpoort-Flexpoint), and Suzanne de Goede (AA-Drink) are the main favourites. Leontien Zijlaard-Van Moorsel will serve as race ambassador, to try to lift the low profile of women's racing in Flanders.