Complete Live Report
Omloop Het Nieuwsblad start list
Omloop Het Nieuwsblad preview
Van Aert ready to hit the road
Valgren has homework done ahead of Opening Weekend
Van Avermaet: I’m where I need to be
Siggaard feels no added pressure
Spring starts here. The Omloop Het Nieuwsblad peloton is assembling at 't Kuipke velodrome in Ghent, where the pre-race presentation - or starthappening per local parlance - is drawing to a close. The roll out is at 11.35 local time, with the race set to reach kilometre zero at 11.45. 200 kilometres and 13 hellingen separate the riders from the finish in Ninove.
Five weeks from the Tour of Flanders, Omloop is the first test site for Belgian cycling's day of days. Last year marked a major change for Omloop, as the finish moved from Ghent to Ninove, drastically changing the character of the closing kilometres. The Muur and Bosberg combination provides the grand finale again this year. The running order of climbs and cobbled sections is as follows:
1 Leberg, 42km
2 Den Ast, 76km
3 Katteberg, 101km
4 Leberg, 111km
5 Rekelberg, 126km
6 Valkenberg, 134km
7 Wolvenberg, 145km
8 Molenberg, 158km
9 Leberg, 165km
10 Berendries, 169km
11 Eleverenberg-Vossenhol, 172km
12 Muur-Kapelmuur, 183km
13 Bosberg, 187km
1 Haaghoek, 39km
2 Huisepontweg, 70km
3 Holleweg, 102km
4 Haaghoek, 108km
5 Paddestraat, 117km
6 Ruiterstraat, 145km
7 Kerkgate, 149km
8 Jagerij, 151km
9 Haaghoek, 151km
The peloton has gathered on the start line and pauses for a minute of silence in memory of Jef Braeckevelt, who died this week at the age of 76.
The riders have been waved away from Ghent and are making their way through the neutralised zone ahead of the start proper.
Wout van Aert is making his debut in Jumbo-Visma colours today after riding last year's Classics for Verandas Willems-Crelan. The three-time cyclo-cross world champion exceeded all expectations last spring and has set a high bar for himself. “It's a big step in my career to go to a World Tour team, a team in which I'll be really guided as I've always hoped," Van Aert said this week. Read more here.
- 200km remaining from 200km
The peloton passes kilometre zero and the 2019 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad is officially underway.
Michael Matthews (Sunweb) begins his season today, having again opted to use the month of February to train rather than to race. A year ago, a crash at Omloop left him with a broken shoulder and precipitated a most trying spring, but he returned to the Muur in August for a season-changing win at the BinckBank Tour. For 2019, he is riding for full programme of cobbled Classics for the first time. ""The team's seen my numbers in the Ardennes and they’ve seen my numbers in the cobbled Classics and they reckoned I'm actually more suited to the cobbled Classics," Matthews told Cyclingnews at Mount Teide last month. Read the full story here.
- 195km remaining from 200km
Roy Jans (Corendon-Circus) and Tom Wirtgen (Wallonie-Bruxelles) have opened a lead of 20 seconds or so over the peloton. Preben Van Hecke (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise) attempts to bridge across before opting to sit up.
The women's Omloop is also taking place today and the peloton has negotiated the neutralised zone and begun the 123km race, which will also take in the Muur and Bosberg before finishing in Ninove. This week, Kirsten Frattini caught up with last year's winner Christina Siggaard (Team Virtu Cycling). Read the full story here.
- 187km remaining from 200km
In the men's race, meanwhile, Alex Howes (EF-Drapac) and Tom Devriendt (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) have managed to forge across to the two leaders to swell the break to four. This quartet has 1:30 in hand on the bunch.
Alex Howes was a late addition to the EF-Drapac team for Omloop in what he has described as his "second neo-pro season." The American cut short his 2018 season when he was diagnosed with a hyperthyroid condition last August but he made a solid return to racing in Colombia last month, where he sat down with our own Pat Malach. Howes has previous when he comes to going on the attack early in Classics. In his first professional season in 2012, he caught the eye in the break of the day at Amstel Gold Race.
- 177km remaining from 200km
The pace is sedate in the peloton for the time being, and the break's lead rises accordingly. Roy Jans (Corendon-Circus), Tom Wirtgen (Wallonie-Bruxelles), Alex Howes (EF Education First) and Tom Devriendt (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) has an advantage of 4:55.
- 172km remaining from 200km
The escapees continue to augment their buffer ahead of the first cobbles and hills of the day, stretching the gap out to 8 minutes.
- 168km remaining from 200km
Howes and company now have a lead of 8:40 over a peloton where no team has yet felt the need to take up the reins of pursuit.
Past Opening Weekends have been beset by miserable and sometimes frigid conditions, but the weather looks set to be relatively kind today. The temperature is 9°C in the Flemish Ardennes, and though overcast, it is not wet.
- 163km remaining from 200km
The four leaders approach the first stretch of cobbles at Haaghoek with a lead of almost 9 minutes over the peloton.
- 163km remaining from 200km
The four leaders approach the first stretch of cobbles at Haaghoek with a lead of over 10 minutes on the peloton.
- 159km remaining from 200km
After covering 39.8km in the first hour of racing, Howes, Devriendt, Jans and Wirtgen have a lead of some 13:50 over the peloton. Deceuninck-QuickStep take this as their cue to hit the front and set about trimming that lead down to more manageable proportions.
Last year's winner Michael Valgren impressed early on at the Volta ao Algarve but came down with illness as the race ended. The Dimension Data rider is thus uncertain of his prospects this afternoon. "Coming into the race I'm both excited and nervous," he said at the start. "My preparation could have been better. I was sick last weekend with a cold. That wasn't the best. It was a bit of flu with some muscle soreness, and coughing. Typical for this time of year but I'm hopeful that lightening can strike twice and that I can win again. I was feeling good yesterday in recon, and I'm feeling good this morning, so we'll see. I'll take it one kilometre at a time and just do my best."
The slow pace of the men's peloton in the opening hour has had a knock-on consequence for the women's race. The organisation reports that the women's race had to be briefly neutralised at Sint-Denijs-Boekel to prevent the two events from overlapping.
It seems that Nicole Hanselmann, the early escapee in the women's race, had almost caught the rear of the men's peloton when she was ordered to a halt. She had a two-minute lead at the time of the neutralisation, but her cause will not be helped by this impromptu stop.
- 147km remaining from 200km
In the men's race, Roy Jans (Corendon-Circus), Tom Wirtgen (Wallonie-Bruxelles), Alex Howes (EF Education First) and Tom Devriendt (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) maintain a lead of almost 14 minutes over the peloton.
Sep Vanmarcke (EF Education First) will be glad to have a teammate in today's early break. Winner of a stage of the Tour du Haut-Var last week, he arrives on form at Opening Weekend: "It's nice to be back in Belgium for the Classics. I won last week and that's a positive but I don't need a victory in order to know that I'm in good condition. I won back here in 2012, which is a long time ago, but I've always been up there. We aim to win again. Everything has gone well for the team so far. We've already won five races and that's because the winter went well. The organisation has become smoother and I think that with EF coming in they had a year to look at things and now everything is rolling. It's all small changes but they've made a big difference. The plan now is to just stay healthy."
- 141km remaining from 200km
The break had a lead of 12:20 atop the Leberg, the first climb of the day. The next hill, Den Ast, comes in 15km or so.
After concluding on the old Ronde finishing straight in Meerbeke last year, the 2019 Omloop finish line shift a few kilometres to Ninove, which has not pleased Greg Van Avermaet (CCC). "The finish isn't ideal. It's not appealing. The old Ronde van Vlaanderen finish in Meerbeke was good. Now we'll be riding on a narrow road. It's not nice. But I hope that I'll be able to win on this new finish," said Van Avermaet, who won Omloop in 2016 and 2017. "I'm only going to be happy when I've won; second or third isn't going to be good enough. I start to win the race."
Tim Declercq (Deceuninck-QuickStep) was on the attack on the final stage of the Volta ao Algarve last weekend, but today his brief is to peg back the early break, and he is riding on the front of the peloton with teammate Iljo Keisse.
- 135km remaining from 200km
Dylan van Baarle leads Team Sky alongside Ian Stannard, though the team is without the ill Luke Rowe. "I had a strong race in Algarve last week and I'm just looking forward to racing today," Van Baarle said at the start. "Of course, everyone is a little bit nervous but that's normal. It's the first cobbled Classics but after today we'll see where everyone is standing and what we need to work on. We're motivated and looking good though. Luke is ill and not racing, so that means we have just two protected leaders in myself and Ian Stannard. That changes things a bit but it's still a Classic and that makes it hard to always race with a plan. The new finish is more technical with more corners but it's not going to be a bunch sprint."
Away from the Flemish Ardennes, Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) has claimed victory on the final stage of the UAE Tour in a bunch sprint. The Irishman beat Fernando Gaviria and Caleb Ewan to the line. It seems hard to believe that Bora-Hansgrohe might not bring him to the Giro or Tour in 2019. Primoz Roglic finished safely in the main peloton to secure overall victory. A full report and results will follow here.
- 125km remaining from 200km
At Omloop, the four leaders are over the top of Den Ast, the day's second hill, with a lead of 10 minutes over the peloton. They have average 39.9kph in the first two hours of racing.
Niki Terpstra's Direct Energie teammate Alexandre Pichot was a faller in the main peloton, but the Frenchman has remounted and is chasing back on.
- 119km remaining from 200km
The peloton is gradually making inroads into the break's advantage. The gap now stands at 9:10.
Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-Scott) has enjoyed a fine start to the season and will hope to shine this weekend. "We've done the recon for Gent-Wevelgem and for this race and that's give you confidence and lets to experience riding in the wind again. I've never had such a victorious start to the season with three wins already. That's given me confidence and the trust that I need going into the next part of the season. Today is really difficult to predict because it's the first race and not all the teams are completely set up. We've got a new parcours with a new finish so it's not obvious as to how the race will finish. I'll do this and then Kuurne tomorrow. They're both opportunities to win."
- 105km remaining from 200km
Deceuninck-QuickStep continue to set the tempo in the bunch, with CCC also represented towards the front. The gap to the break is down to 8:26.
Roy Jans (Corendon-Circus), Tom Wirtgen (Wallonie-Bruxelles), Alex Howes (EF Education First) and Tom Devriendt (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) are still swapping turns smoothly at the head of the race as they approach the midway point. The next hill on the agenda will be the day's third climb of the Katteberg.
- 99km remaining from 200km
Alex Howes leads the escapees up the Katteberg with a lead of 7:30 over the peloton.
There were a few dropped musettes as the peloton passed through the feed zone, but it seems everybody has emerged unscathed. Trek-Segafredo and Lotto Soudal have joined the pace-making efforts at the head of the bunch.
There has been a notable injection of urgency in the peloton as it approaches the Katteberg. Team Sky are also moving up en masse, and another minute has been shaved off the break's lead. The gap is now 6:35.
It's interesting to see a delegation from Direct Energie join the effort on the front of the bunch, with Damien Guadin churning a huge gear. This feels like an early statement of intent from their new arrival Niki Terpstra.
- 94km remaining from 200km
Gaudin leads the bunch onto the cobbles at Holleweg. 6:12 the gap.
A puncture for Łukasz Wiśniowski (CCC Team), who placed second a year ago. The Pole will get back on, but it will require a wholehearted effort given the surge in pace in the bunch.
- 92km remaining from 200km
Another CCC puncture, this time for Guillaume Van Keirsbulck. He gets a quick wheel change and begins to chase back on.
The break is on the cobbles of Haaghoek for the second time, with a lead of 6 minutes over a peloton where a broad coalition of interests is working to hunt them down.
- 88km remaining from 200km
The pace is relentless in the peloton, which has closed to within 5:10 of the break as they rattle across the Haaghoek and towards the second of three ascents of the Leberg.
Kenneth Vanbilsen (Cofidis) accelerates on the Leberg and leads a small counter-attack clear of the peloton.
Around 15 or so riders join Vanbilsen over the other side of the Leberg, among them Zdenek Stybar (Deceuninck-QuickStep). There is a decent spread of teams in this group, but somebody will sure have missed the boat and start to chase them down.
- 82km remaining from 200km
Oliver Naesen (AG2R La Mondiale), Ian Stannard (Sky) and Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) are also in this rather dangerous counter-attack of 21 riders. Behind, the bunch is fractured into at least two distinct groups.
Zdenek Stybar, Oliver Naesen, Stijn Vandenbergh, Jens Keukeleire, Duval, Davide Ballerini, Jurgen Roelandts, Taco van der Hoorn, Chris Lawless, Mike Teunissen, Ian Stannard, Alex Kirsch, Mads Pedersen, Bert Van Lerberghe, Boy van Poppel, Sven Erik Bystrom, Kenneth Vanbilsen, Lionel Taminiaux, Emils Liepins, Baptiste Planckaet and Frederik Backaert are the men in this 21-man group, but they lose some of their momentum when a couple of their number come down in a crash.
- 78km remaining from 200km
No matter, the Stybar-Naesen group has put daylight into the peloton ahead of the Rekelberg. They are 3:22 down on the break, while the bunch is at 4:13.
CCC are the most notable team to have missed the break and the men in orange mass on the front of the peloton in pursuit of Naesen, Pedersen, Stybar et al.
- 76km remaining from 200km
The CCC-led bunch is 30 seconds down on the Naesen-Stybar group and 3:40 behind the four escapees.
- 75km remaining from 200km
Chris Lawless (Team Sky) has done the lion's share of the pace-making in the second group on the road, which is now 2:45 behind the leaders and 30 seconds up on the bunch as they approach the day's fifth climb, the Rekelberg.
In the main peloton, Tiesj Benoot (Lotto Soudal) suffers a puncture. Astana and Mitchelton-Scott also look primed to help CCC chase down the dangerous counter-attack.
- 70km remaining from 200km
Ian Stannard and Christopher Lawless are contributing generously at the head of the second group of the road, and their efforts are forcing CCC to the pin of their collars to try to bring them back.
- 68km remaining from 200km
The situation ahead of the Valkenberg:
Roy Jans (Corendon-Circus), Tom Wirtgen (Wallonie-Bruxelles), Alex Howes (EF Education First) and Tom Devriendt (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) are out in front.
The second group on the road is 1:40 behind: Chris Lawless, Ian Stannard (Team Sky), Taco Van der Hoorn (Jumbo-Visma), Davide Ballerini (Astana), Sven Erik Bystrom (UAE Team Emirates), Baptiste Planckaert, Lionel Taminiaux, Emils Liepins (Wallonie-Bruxelles), Stijn Vandenbergh, Julien Duval, Oliver Naesen (AG2R-La Mondiale), Frederik Backaert (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), Zdenek Stybar (Deceuninck-Quick Step), Jurgen Roelandts (Movistar), Jens Keukeleire (Lotto-Soudal), Bert Van Lerberghe, Kenneth Vanbilsen (Cofidis), Mads Pedersen, Alex Kirsch (Trek-Segafredo), Boy Van Poppel (Roompot-Charles)
The peloton is at 1:55
Stybar comes to the front in a bid to breathe life into the chasing group but the peloton is almost upon them.
Jens Keukeleire leads the second group onto the Valkenberg, but the peloton is virtually upon them.
- 65km remaining from 200km
Keukeleire presses on near the top of the climb before desisting over the summit. The peloton has made contact with the rear of this group. With the bunch strung out in one long line, however, it is a bit of a stretch to say the race has settled down and come back together...
- 63km remaining from 200km
The net result of that counter-attack's effort is a significant reduction in the break's lead. Howes et al are now just 1:35 clear of the peloton.
- 62km remaining from 200km
Jasper De Buyst (Lotto Soudal) has drifted clear alone ahead of the peloton. The Belgian would doubtless prefer some company rather than get caught out in no man's land.
Howes, Jans, Wirtgen and Devriendt remain out in front but their lead over De Buyst is just 30 seconds. De Buyst isn't waiting for reinforcements, but is pressing on determinedly alone in pursuit of the leaders.
- 59km remaining from 200km
De Buyst is 20 seconds behind the break and only 10 up on the reduced bunch, where Deceuninck-QuickStep are winding up the pace ahead of our 7th climb, the Wolvenberg.
De Buyst is duly brought back to heel and one senses that the break won't last much longer given the rate of knots being set by Deceuninck-QuickStep.
A crash in the main peloton sees a number of riders come off, including Iljo Keisse. Up front, the pace continues unabated on the approach to the Wolvenberg.
- 55km remaining from 200km
Tom Devriendt (Wanty-Gobert) attacks from the break at the base of the Wolvenberg, opening a decent gap over his erstwhile colleagues, who will soon be swept up by the bunch.
- 52km remaining from 200km
Devriendt stretches his lead back out to 30 seconds as there is a brief impasse in the main peloton. Howes, Jans and Wirtgen haven't yet been caught by the bunch, and they remain within touching distance of Devriendt.
- 51km remaining from 200km
The big leaders make their first tentative move of the day on the cobbles of Kerkgate. Philippe Gilbert accelerates and only Wout van Aert and Greg Van Avermaet can follow. He desists after a time, and they are reabsorbed by the peloton.
- 50km remaining from 200km
Devriendt has been joined at the front of the race by Wirtgen and Baptiste Planckaert, who had succeeded in bridging across to the remnants of the break. This trio has just 11 seconds in hand on the bunch, where Yves Lampaert puts in a brief dig as QuickStep continue to probe their rivals.
- 48km remaining from 200km
Tom Devriendt (Wanty-Gobert Cycling Team), Tom Wirtgen (Wallonie Bruxelles) and Baptiste Planckaert (Wallonie Bruxelles) have 15 seconds in hand on the peloton as they trundle towards the Molenberg, the 8th hill of the afternoon.
Mitchelton-Scott and Lotto Soudal set the pace in the main peloton on the approach to the Molenberg.
- 46km remaining from 200km
A crash at the rear of the peloton sees Jasper Philipsen (UAE Team Emirates_ among the fallers. In front, the intensity continues to ratchet upwards.
Wirtgen sits up, leaving Planckaert and Devriendt to plough on at the head of the race with a lead of 21 seconds over a reduced peloton.
- 43km remaining from 200km
Jumbo-Visma hit the front as the peloton approaches the narrow entry to the Molenberg. This could be a pivotal moment.
Jumbo-Visma's forcing strings out the peloton on the Molenberg, but it doesn't quite force a definitive split. Planckaert is alone in front as Devriendt sits up, but he has only a handful of seconds in hand on the chasers.
- 40km remaining from 200km
The small gaps in the peloton at the top of the Molenberg widened into an abyss over the other side. There is a very reduced group of 20 or so riders at the head of the race, including Greg Van Avermaet, Wout Van Aert, Tiesj Benoot, Zdenek Stybar, Matteo Trentin and Yves Lampaert.
- 39km remaining from 200km
Devriendt has been pegged back, and this elite 17-man group containing Van Avermaet, Van Aert, Stybar and Lampaert is in front with a lead of 24 seconds over the rest of the bunch.
The 17 riders in front are: Yves Lampaert, Zdenek Stybar (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Tiesj Benoot, Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal), Olvier Naesen (AG23 La Mondiale), Davide Ballerini, Alexey Lutsenko (Astana), Dylan Teuns, Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida), Jempy Drucker, Daniel Oss (Bora-Hansgrohe), Greg Van Avermaet (CCC), Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-Scott), Wout van Aert, Danny van Poppel (Jumbo-Visma), Ian Stannard (Sky), Baptiste Planckaert (Wallonie-Bruxelles).
- 37km remaining from 200km
Stannard sets the pace on the cobbles at Haaghoek. Sunweb lead the chase in the peloton, Michael Matthews is among the notable men to miss this move, together with Sep Vanmarcke (EF Education First) and QuickStep's Philippe Gilbert and Bob Jungels.
- 33km remaining from 200km
Over the Leberg for the final time, the 17 leaders have a gap of 22 seconds over the chasing group, which is being led by Sunweb. Next on the agenda is the climb of Berendries.
- 32km remaining from 200km
The on-form Alexey Lutsenko leads the break onto the day's 10th climb, Berendries. These 17 riders carry a lead of 15 seconds over the peloton, where Sunweb are now getting some help from other quarters.
Lights out for Vanmarcke, who is dropped from the chasing group on the Berendries, where Terpstra, Jungels and Matthews take up the reins.
Tiesj Benoot took over in front of the break on Berendries. The Lotto man stretched things out but the group remains intact over the other side. They maintain a small buffer over a much reduced chasing group.
- 30km remaining from 200km
Into the final 30 kilometres. Just three climbs remain - the Elverenberg, Muur and Bosberg.
Tiesj Benoot crashes out of the break on a corner ahead of the Elverenberg. Tim Wellens will have to carry Lotto Soudal's challenge from here on in.
- 28km remaining from 200km
That crash has split the leading group, with Van Avermaet, Lutsenko, Stybar, Teuns, Oss and Wellens left in front as the race hits the Elverenberg. The gaps to the chasers remain tight. A breathless final half hour or so is in store.
Chantal Blaak (Boels Dolmans) has won the women's Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. Marta Bastianelli won the sprint for second ahead of Jip van den Bos. Read a report here.
- 24km remaining from 200km
The peloton has absorbed Van Aert, Naesen and the chasers. They are 18 seconds behind the leaders - Oss, Van Avermaet, Stybar, Lutsenko, Teuns and Wellens.
- 23km remaining from 200km
Team Sky and Jumbo-Visma set the pace in the expanded chasing group, 17 seconds down on Van Avermaet, Stybar, Wellens, Teuns, Lutsenko and Oss.
Owain Doull puts in a long, long turn on the front of the chasing group on behalf of Team Sky. QuickStep, meanwhile, have Jungels, Gilbert and Lampaert policing this chasing group on behalf of Stybar.
- 21km remaining from 200km
The six leaders are on the approach to Geraardsbergen. The summit of the Muur comes with 16.7km to go, followed in quick succession by the Bosberg, which comes 12.8km before the line.
- 20km remaining from 200km
Lutsenko puts in a mammoth turn on the front. The Kazakhstani's efforts are helping the break to maintain its lead of 17 seconds over the chasers.
There are plenty of dangermen sitting in this chase group, including Michael Matthews, Matteo Trentin and Niki Terpstra. They remain, however, 19 seconds down on Van Avermaet, Stybar and company.
The six leaders hit Geraardsbergen with a lead of 15 seconds over the pursuers. Van Avemaet leads them onto the antechamber of the Muur...
Van Avermaet leads the break on the lower slopes of the Muur. Stannard sets the tempo in the chasing group.
Styvar takes over ahead of the famous right-hand turn onto the Muur proper. The Czech stretches out the group with his pace-setting.
Gilbert takes over on the front of the chase group at the same point, with Terpstra on his wheel.
Van Avermaet hits the front as the gradient siffens. Stybar, Lutsenko, Wellens and Teuns follow. Oss is dropped.
Terpstra and Gilbert lead a stretched out chasing group on the same portion of the Muur...
- 17km remaining from 200km
Five riders remain in front over the other side of the Muur - Van Avermaet, Stybar, Wellens, Teuns and Lutsenko. Oss is just ahead of a chasing group featuring Gilbert, Terpstra and Matthews.
- 16km remaining from 200km
It looks as though Stybar, Van Avermaet and company retained most of their advantage over the top of the Muur, and they are continuing to work well together on the other side.
- 14km remaining from 200km
Teuns, Lutsenko, Wellens, Van Avermaet and Stybar hurtle towards the Bosberg with what might be a winning gap. Oss remains in the no man's land between them and the chasers.
Some flicking elbows and signs of discord in the front group as they approach the Bosberg, but they are extending their lead, which now stands at 20 seconds.
Lutsenko leads onto the grind that is the Bosberg, but then Van Avermaet accelerates past him...
- 13km remaining from 200km
Van Avermaet piles on the pressure with Stybar on his wheel. They have a small gap over the rest as they crest the summit.
Durbridge leads the chasing group over the summit, but they have 20 seconds or so to make up on the leaders.
- 12km remaining from 200km
The front group comes back together over the top - Lutsenko, Van Avermaet, Wellens, Teuns and Stybar look to have the firepower to go the distance.
- 11km remaining from 200km
The small chasing group is on the cusp of catching Oss, but they are now 35 seconds down on the five leaders.
- 10km remaining from 200km
The five leaders are still swapping turns but as their advantage grows, their cohesion will surely peter out.
- 9km remaining from 200km
Oss and Durbridge lead the chasing group on behalf of Drucker and Trentin, respectively, but they are making no inroads into the break's lead. 33 seconds the gap.
- 6km remaining from 200km
The five strongmen in front continue to exchange turns, 32 seconds clear of the chasers. Van Avermaet would be favoured in the event of a sprint, but Lutsenko has a decent turn of pace too. We can expect attack and counter-attack before Ninove.
- 5km remaining from 200km
Lutsenko, Wellens, Van Avermaet, Stybar and Teuns enter the final 5km with half a minute in hand on the chasers. The winner will come from these five.
- 4km remaining from 200km
Wellens sits on the back with the air of a man readying himself to try an attack, but he will have to choose his moment carefully.
- 3km remaining from 200km
Right on cue, Wellens takes a flyer on the right-hand side of the road, but Van Avermaet is wise to the move and shuts it down.
Stybar punches on the left as soon as Wellens is brought back. Van Avermaet begins the chase and then desists. Stybar has a small gap...
- 2km remaining from 200km
Stybar carries a small lead into the final 2km, but Lutsenko takes up the reins of pursuit...
Lutsenko swings over and looks for Van Avermaet to chase... This is playing into Stybar's hands. The Czech stretches out his lead...
- 1km remaining from 200km
Stybar has 10 seconds in hand on the rest of the break as he enters the final kilometre. Teuns accelerates and then desists. The momentum has ebbed away from this pursuit.
Van Avermaet takes up the chase but it looks to be too little, too late. Stybar is soloing to Omloop victory.
Zdenek Stybar (Deceuninck-QuickStep) wins Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.
Greg Van Avermaet (CCC) wins the sprint for second ahead of Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal).
Alexey Lutsenko (Astana) took fourth ahead of Dylan Teuns (Bahrain-Merida).
The chasing group came in 26 seconds down, led by Drucker and Gilbert.
It never rains but it pours. QuickStep won 73 races last year, but Zdenek Stybar didn't win once in all of 2018. He opened his account for 2019 at the Volta ao Algarve last week and now wins his first Classic.
Remarkably, considering their dominance on the cobbles, this is QuickStep's first win in Omloop since Nick Nuyens won the race, then known as Omloop Het Volk, back in 2005.
1 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Deceuninck-QuickStep
2 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) CCC
3 Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal
4 Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana Pro Team
5 Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain-Merida
6 Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) Bora-Hansgrohe
7 Yves Lampaert (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep
8 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep
9 Matteo Trentin (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott
10 Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale
Tiesj Benoot has confirmed that he will miss tomorrow's Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne as a precaution as a result of his crash in the finale here. He is en route to hospital in Deinze for a check-up.
Thanks for joining our live coverage of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on Cyclingnews this afternoon. We'll be back with more from Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne tomorrow. In the meantime, a full report, results and pictures from Omloop are available here.