World champion Armitstead wins Omloop Het Nieuwsblad Elite Women

One-two for Boels Dolmans as Blaak takes second place

Lizzie Armitstead won the women’s European season opener at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on Saturday. The world champion soloed across the line in Gent, celebrating the victory in her rainbow jersey debut. Armitstead’s win marks the first time a world champion has graced the top step of the podium at the Belgian Classic.

Chantal Blaak delivered a one-two for Boels-Dolmans as she bested Tiffany Cromwell (Canyon-SRAM) in the reduced bunch sprint. The 22-rider chase group finished 29 seconds behind Armitstead.

“That wasn’t the plan,” a breathless Armitstead told Cyclingnews moments after her solo effort. “That wasn’t the plan at all. When I was away I was almost hoping they would catch me. I was out there way too long.”

Armitstead found herself in what she called “an accidental breakaway” when she lifted the pace with 20 kilometres remaining.

“It wasn’t an attack,” Armitstead insisted. “It was people messing around and watching each other and not watching me, which never happens, so that was really cool.

“I went to the front of the group and accelerated and somehow ended up on my own.”

Gracie Elvin (Orica-AIS) made it a two-rider move. The duo stretched out their advantage to 45 seconds but Elvin wasn’t sharing in the work.

“It was really frustrating to me,” Armitstead said. “I thought, well, we still have the numbers to play behind, so I’m not working if you’re not working. We stopped completely in the road and looked really stupid. But there was a slight drag in the road. I attacked Gracie, and I never looked back."

Behind Armitstead, the chase was disorganised. Rabo-Liv and Wiggle High5 eventually collaborated on the front, but their efforts weren’t enough to close the gap.

“People hesitated a bit,” noted Blaak, who was in the chase group when Armitstead went away. “Wiggle and Rabo started riding. They kept Lizzie at a certain distance but they couldn’t close it completely. We were waiting because we know when it comes back, we might need to attack again.”

Future attacks proved unnecessary. Armitstead maintained her advantage all the way to the line. The world champion fielded questions about the ‘curse of the rainbow jersey’ all winter. Her win on Saturday was a powerful response.

“I was number 13 today as well,” Armitstead said. “That shows how much I believe in those things. Yeah. I think World Champions aren’t lucky. You work hard and you don’t suddenly stop working next winter because you’re world champion. It gives me extra motivation more than anything.”

How it happened

Nearly 200 riders set out under sunny skies for 123-kilometre race that is widely regarded as the start of the Classics season. Typically Omloop Het Nieuwsblad is a two-act affair for the women. A nervous but inactive first half gives way for non-stop attacks over the climbs and cobbles that feature in the second half of the race.

“The plan today was to make the race selective after the Cote de Trie – the first difficult climb,” explained Armitstead. “That worked but then there was a lot of headwind and it all came back together.”

Jessie Daams (Lotto Soudal Ladies) slipped away from the peloton for a short-lived solo effort. The lone leader gained a maximum advantage of 30 seconds over the peloton heading into the Wolvenberg. Forty kilometres from the finish, the peloton overtook Daams and the action began in earnest.

“Over the Molenerg, we made it hard again, and Ellen [van Dijk] went away,” Armitstead said. “That opened the race again. We caught her on the [Paddestraat] cobbles. Anna van der Breggen was really strong there but so were we.”

Romy Kasper (Boels-Dolmans) led a trio of riders, part of a fragmented reduced bunch, just beyond the Paddestraat. Ten kilometres later, Armitstead and Elvin went up the road. It would prove the race’s decisive moment.

“I’m really happy,” Armitstead said. “It’s always nice to start a season with a win. It makes the rest of the wins easier. The morale in the team is high right now. We’re in a really good place. I’m really proud of how the team road today. I think this is only the start.”

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Elizabeth Armitstead (GBr) Boels Dolmans Cycling Team3:23:05 
2Chantal Blaak (Ned) Boels Dolmans Cycling Team0:00:29 
3Tiffany Cromwell (Aus) Canyon-SRAM  
4Leah Kirchmann (Can) Team Liv-Plantur  
5Shelley Olds (USA) Cylance Pro Cycling  
6Lucinda Brand (Ned) Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team  
7Chloe Hosking (Aus) Wiggle High5  
8Susanna Zorzi (Ita) Lotto Soudal Ladies  
9Carmen Small (USA) Cervelo Bigla Pro Cycling Team  
10Emma Johansson (Swe) Wiggle High5  
11Annemiek Van Vleuten (Ned) Orica-AIS  
12Floortje Mackaij (Ned) Team Liv-Plantur  
13Anna Van Der Breggen (Ned) Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team  
14Alexis Ryan (USA) Canyon-SRAM  
15Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Wiggle High5  
16Megan Guarnier (USA) Boels Dolmans Cycling Team  
17Romy Kasper (Ger) Boels Dolmans Cycling Team  
18Amy Pieters (Ned) Wiggle High5  
19Joelle Numainville (Can) Cervelo Bigla Pro Cycling Team  
20Roxane Knetemann (Ned) Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team  
21Nikki Harris (GBr) Boels Dolmans Cycling Team  
22Lisa Brennauer (Ger) Canyon-SRAM  
23Elizabeth Williams (Aus) Orica-AIS  
24Claudia Häusler (Ger) Lotto Soudal Ladies0:00:36 
25Gracie Elvin (Aus) Orica-AIS0:00:38 
26Eleonora Van Dijk (Ned) Boels Dolmans Cycling Team0:03:32 
27Anouska Koster (Ned) Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team0:04:09 
28Lauren Kitchen (Aus) Hitec Products  
29Marta Bastianelli (Ita) Alé Cipollini  
30Monique Van De Ree (Ned) Lares-Waowdeals Women Cycling Team  
31Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Den) Team BMS Birn  
32Rozanne Slik (Ned) Team Liv-Plantur  
33Kelly Druyts (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Etixx-Guill D'or  
34Lauren Stephens (USA) Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank  
35Jip Van Den Bos (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg Continental Team  
36Annelies Dom (Bel) Lensworld-Zannata  
37Emily Collins (NZl) Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank  
38Sofie De Vuyst (Bel) Lotto Soudal Ladies  
39Kaat Van Der Meulen (Bel) Lensworld-Zannata  
40Aurore Verhoeven (Fra) Lointek  
41Iris Slappendel (Ned) UnitedHealthcare Women  
42Jessie Daams (Bel) Lotto Soudal Ladies  
43Shara Gillow (Aus) Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team  
44Kelly Van Den Steen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Etixx-Guill D'or  
45Malgorzta Jasinska (Pol) Alé Cipollini  
46Lex Albrecht (Can) Bepink  
47Eider Merino Kortazar (Spa) Lointek  
48Rasa Leleivyte (Ltu) Lithuania  
49Valerie Demey (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Etixx-Guill D'or  
50Sheyla Gutierrez Ruiz (Spa) Cylance Pro Cycling  
51Vita Heine (Nor) Hitec Products  
52Brianna Walle (USA) Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank  
53Ilona Hoeksma (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg Continental Team  
54Sarah Roy (Aus) Orica-AIS  
55Kaat Hannes (Bel) Lensworld-Zannata  
56Marta Tagliaferro (Ita) Alé Cipollini  
57Emilia Fahlin (Swe) Alé Cipollini  
58Willeke Knol (Ned) Lotto Soudal Ladies  
59Julie Leth (Den) Hitec Products  
60Giorgia Bronzini (Ita) Wiggle High5  
61Amanda Spratt (Aus) Orica-AIS  
62Alena Amialiusik (Blr) Canyon-SRAM  
63Trixi Worrack (Ger) Canyon-SRAM  
64Rossella Ratto (Ita) Cylance Pro Cycling  
65Lieselot Decroix (Bel) Lotto Soudal Ladies  
66Julia Soek (Ned) Team Liv-Plantur0:08:56 
67Flavia Oliveira (Bra) Lensworld-Zannata  
68Mayuko Hagiwara (Jpn) Wiggle High5  
69Kristabel Doebel-Hickok (USA) Cylance Pro Cycling  
70Céline Van Severen (Bel) Wielerclub De Sprinters Malderen  
71Chanella Stougje (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg Continental Team  
72Alice Barnes (GBr) Great Britain  
73Coralie Demay (Fra) Poitou-Charentes.Futuroscope.86  
74Pernille Mathiesen (Den) Team BMS Birn  
75Annie Ewart (Can) UnitedHealthcare Women  
76Ilaria Sanguineti (Ita) Bepink  
77Lauren Hall (USA) Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank  
78Coryn Rivera (USA) UnitedHealthcare Women  
79Nathalie Verschelden (Bel) Keukens Redant Cycling Team0:11:34 
80Saartje Vandenbroucke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Etixx-Guill D'or  
81Claudia Koster (Ned) GRC Jan Van Arckel  
82Liisi Rist (Est) Keukens Redant Cycling Team  
83Kylie Waterreus (Ned) Maaslandster Nicheliving  
84Marjolein Van 'T Geloof (Ned) GRC Jan van Arckel  
85Chloe Fraser (GBr) Lointek  
86Daniela Gass (Ger) De Sprinters Malderen  
87Jermaine Post (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg Continental Team  
88Natalie Van Gogh (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg Continental Team  
89Laura Gorter (Ned) WV Breda  
90Diana Peñuela (Col) UnitedHealthcare Women  
91Dorleta Eskamendi Gil (Spa) Lares-Waowdeals Women Cycling Team  
92Christina Siggaard (Den) Team BMS Birn  
93Kseniya Tuhai (Blr) Bepink  
94Lierni Lekuona Etxebeste (Spa) Bizkaia - Durango  
95Janicke Gunvaldsen (Nor) Hitec Products  
96Marie Vilmann (Den) Team BMS Birn  
97Carlee Taylor (Aus) Team Liv-Plantur  
98Alba Teruel Ribes (Spa) Lointek  
99Lenore Pipes (Gum) Bepink  
100Roos Hoogeboom (Ned) Bizkaia - Durango  
101Winanda Spoor (Ned) Lensworld-Zannata  
102Jesse Vandenbulcke (Bel) Lares-Waowdeals Women Cycling Team  
103Dana Rožlapa (Lat) Keukens Redant Cycling Team  
104Lotte Van Hoek (Ned) Lares-Waowdeals Women Cycling Team  
105Demmy Druyts (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Etixx-Guill D'or  
106Simona Bortolotti (Ita) Bepink  
107Lourdes Oyarbide Jimenez (Spa) Bizkaia - Durango  
108Lotta Lepistö (Fin) Cervelo Bigla Pro Cycling Team  
109Barbara Guarischi (Ita) Canyon-SRAM  
110Cristina Martinez (Spa) Lointek  
111Anna Ramirez Bauxel (Spa) Lointek  
112Evy Kuijpers (Ned) GRC Jan van Arckel0:11:38 
DNFKatarzyna Niewiadoma (Pol) Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team  
DNFTayler Wiles (USA) Orica-AIS  
DNFGabrielle Pilote-Fortin (Can) Cervelo Bigla Pro Cycling Team  
DNFNicole Hanselmann (Swi) Cervelo Bigla Pro Cycling Team  
DNFClara Koppenburg (Ger) Cervelo Bigla Pro Cycling Team  
DNFThea Thorsen (Nor) Hitec Products  
DNFValentina Scandolara (Ita) Cylance Pro Cycling  
DNFRachele Barbieri (Ita) Cylance Pro Cycling  
DNFHayley Simmonds (GBr) UnitedHealthcare Women  
DNFKatie Hall (USA) UnitedHealthcare Women  
DNFKendall Ryan (USA) Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank  
DNFRiejanne Markus (Ned) Team Liv-Plantur  
DNFMartina Alzini (Ita) Alé Cipollini  
DNFDalia Muccioli (Ita) Alé Cipollini  
DNFTereza Medvedova (Svk) Bepink  
DNFRoxane Fournier (Fra) Poitou-Charentes.Futuroscope.86  
DNFAnabelle Dreville (Fra) Poitou-Charentes.Futuroscope.86  
DNFEugénie Duval (Fra) Poitou-Charentes.Futuroscope.86  
DNFCharlotte Bravard (Fra) Poitou-Charentes.Futuroscope.86  
DNFVictorie Guilman (Fra) Poitou-Charentes.Futuroscope.86  
DNFJanneke Ensing (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg Continental Team  
DNFKim De Baat (Bel) Lensworld-Zannata  
DNFGilke Croket (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Etixx-Guill D'or  
DNFCoral Casado Ortiz (Spa) Bizkaia - Durango  
DNFIrati Idirin Egana (Spa) Bizkaia - Durango  
DNFPaula Lanz Blazquez (Spa) Bizkaia - Durango  
DNFSarah Rijkes (Aut) Lares-Waowdeals Women Cycling Team  
DNFSara Penton (Swe) Lares-Waowdeals Women Cycling Team  
DNFCamilla Møllebro (Den) Team BMS Birn  
DNFTine Rasch Hansen (Den) Team BMS Birn  
DNFEvie Richards (GBr) Great Britain  
DNFManon Lloyd (GBr) Great Britain  
DNFAbigail Dentus (GBr) Great Britain  
DNFEmily Kay (GBr) Great Britain  
DNFJustina Jovaišyte (Ltu) Lithuania  
DNFSilvija Latozaite (Ltu) Lithuania  
DNFEdita Janeliunaite (Ltu) Lithuania  
DNFFiona Dutriaux (Fra) Autoglass Wetteren-Group Solar  
DNFAnnick Dircx (Bel) Autoglass Wetteren-Group Solar  
DNFSarah Borremans (Bel) Autoglass Wetteren-Group Solar  
DNFMelanie Wotsch (Ger) Autoglass Wetteren-Group Solar  
DNFMarieke Blomme (Bel) Autoglass Wetteren-Group Solar  
DNFKatleen Jacobs (Bel) De Sprinters Malderen  
DNFLaurence Thill (Lux) De Sprinters Malderen  
DNFKathleen Sterckx (Bel) De Sprinters Malderen  
DNFSanne Bamelis (Bel) De Sprinters Malderen  
DNFIne Allaert (Bel) Keukens Redant Cycling Team  
DNFEva Van Den Born (Ned) Keukens Redant Cycling Team  
DNFBrenda Goessens (Bel) Keukens Redant Cycling Team  
DNFKato Zegers (Bel) Isorex Cycling Team  
DNFClaire Thomas (GBr) Isorex Cycling Team  
DNFLaura Vainionpää (Fin) Isorex Cycling Team  
DNFGenevieve Whitson (GBr) Isorex Cycling Team  
DNFMieke Leeman (Bel) Isorex Cycling Team  
DNFJasmien De Boeck (Bel) Isorex Cycling Team  
DNFMathilde Matthysse (Ned) Jos Feron Lady Force  
DNFCelesta Op Den Brouw (Ned) Jos Feron Lady Force  
DNFNatasja Nieuwenhuizen (Ned) Jos Feron Lady Force  
DNFFatima Berton (Bel) Jos Feron Lady Force  
DNFAnneloes Stoelwinder (Ned) Jos Feron Lady Force  
DNFChantal Verstraten (Ned) Jos Feron Lady Force  
DNFKim Van Dijk (Ned) GRC Jan van Arckel  
DNFSylvie Boermans (Ned) GRC Jan van Arckel  
DNFJarna De Jong (Ned) GRC Jan van Arckel  
DNFFemke Van Kessel (Ned) WV Breda  
DNFSanne Van Helmond (Ned) WV Breda  
DNFLinda Ringlever (Ned) WV Breda  
DNFKirsten Howard (Aus) Maaslandster Nicheliving  
DNFErin Kinnealy (Aus) Maaslandster Nicheliving  
DNFAngela Smith (Aus) Maaslandster Nicheliving  
DNFSara Verhaest (Bel) Maaslandster Nicheliving  
DNFElissa Wundersitz (Aus) Maaslandster Nicheliving  
DNFRobin Driehuis (Ned) WV De Jonge Renner  
DNFKim Lahaije (Ned) WV De Jonge Renner  
DNFYmke Stegink (Ned) WV De Jonge Renner  
DNFAnne Posthuma (Ned) WV De Jonge Renner  
DNFDanique Spekle (Ned) WV De Jonge Renner  
DNFCharlotte Peeters (Ned) WV De Jonge Renner  


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