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Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne: massive tech gallery

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Shimano have stepped up their neutral service bikes for the 2018 season

Shimano have stepped up their neutral service bikes for the 2018 season (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)
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Sponsor correct woollen booties for Bahrain-Merida

Sponsor correct woollen booties for Bahrain-Merida (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)
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Sportful provide Bahrain-Merida and Bora-Hansgrohe with their Fiandre range, which is Italian for Flanders and suitable for Flandrian weather

Sportful provide Bahrain-Merida and Bora-Hansgrohe with their Fiandre range, which is Italian for Flanders and suitable for Flandrian weather (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)
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Mads Pedersen was one of the only riders not to start either race with knee warmers of leg warmers

Mads Pedersen was one of the only riders not to start either race with knee warmers of leg warmers (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)
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Layers, snoods and thermal hats were used in an attempt to fight the cold temperatures

Layers, snoods and thermal hats were used in an attempt to fight the cold temperatures (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)
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Latex booties were popular in an attempt to keep out the cold

Latex booties were popular in an attempt to keep out the cold (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)
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Olympic champion Greg Van Avermaet has a new custom helmet for the 2018 season

Olympic champion Greg Van Avermaet has a new custom helmet for the 2018 season (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)
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Philippe Gilbert and his Quick-Step Floors teammates all wore the new S-Works Evade helmet

Philippe Gilbert and his Quick-Step Floors teammates all wore the new S-Works Evade helmet (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)
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Team Sky had Castelli's full line up of cold weather gear to choose from

Team Sky had Castelli's full line up of cold weather gear to choose from (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)
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Silvain Dillier and Oliver Naesen who both have custom national champion paint jobs have mottos adorning their top tube

Silvain Dillier and Oliver Naesen who both have custom national champion paint jobs have mottos adorning their top tube (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)
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Colour-coordinated jockey wheels for the Belgian national champion

Colour-coordinated jockey wheels for the Belgian national champion (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)
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Elite Ciussi bottle cages are renowned for their performance on the cobbles

Elite Ciussi bottle cages are renowned for their performance on the cobbles (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)
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Wout Van Aert and his Verandas Willems-Crelan teammates raced Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on Stevens Xenon bikes

Wout Van Aert and his Verandas Willems-Crelan teammates raced Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on Stevens Xenon bikes (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)
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The Verandas Willems-Crelan team ran Wahoo Elemnt Bolt computers

The Verandas Willems-Crelan team ran Wahoo Elemnt Bolt computers (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)
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The Belgian team also used Wahoo Kickr trainers to warm up ahead of the race

The Belgian team also used Wahoo Kickr trainers to warm up ahead of the race (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)
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After some early season races aboard Trek Emonda Discs, Trek-Segafredo used rim brake Trek Madone's for opening weekend

After some early season races aboard Trek Emonda Discs, Trek-Segafredo used rim brake Trek Madone's for opening weekend (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)
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Most of Team Sunweb use stems from Giant, but a few riders used Fouriers' offering

Most of Team Sunweb use stems from Giant, but a few riders used Fouriers' offering (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)
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Bora-Hansgrohe used S-Works Turbo 'Hell of the North' tubular tyres

Bora-Hansgrohe used S-Works Turbo 'Hell of the North' tubular tyres (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)
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The custom Fizik Antares saddle of Belgian national champion Oliver Naesen

The custom Fizik Antares saddle of Belgian national champion Oliver Naesen (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)
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Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors) sets up his Garmin Edge 1030 computer ahead of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors) sets up his Garmin Edge 1030 computer ahead of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)
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Sep Vanmarcke opts for the POC Octal Aero helmet for the majority of the spring races

Sep Vanmarcke opts for the POC Octal Aero helmet for the majority of the spring races (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)
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The Israel Cycling Academy bikes have blue flecks in their paint, which catch the sun light

The Israel Cycling Academy bikes have blue flecks in their paint, which catch the sun light (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)
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August Jensen asked his mechanic to tape the sides of his saddles, although the mechanic didn't know why

August Jensen asked his mechanic to tape the sides of his saddles, although the mechanic didn't know why (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)
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Direct Energie are another team to race on Astute saddles for the 2018 season

Direct Energie are another team to race on Astute saddles for the 2018 season (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)
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The aero head tube of Wilier's Cento 1 AIR

The aero head tube of Wilier's Cento 1 AIR (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)
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French champion Arnaud Demare was another FDJ rider to race aboard a custom Lapierre on the weekend

French champion Arnaud Demare was another FDJ rider to race aboard a custom Lapierre on the weekend (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)
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Edvald Boasson Hagen's (Team Dimension Data) Cervelo S5 for Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne

Edvald Boasson Hagen's (Team Dimension Data) Cervelo S5 for Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)
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Team Cofidis' Kuota Khan race bikes for Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne

Team Cofidis' Kuota Khan race bikes for Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)
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Shimano have stepped up their neutral service bikes for the 2018 season

Shimano have stepped up their neutral service bikes for the 2018 season (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)
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Israel Cycling Academy raced Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne on Sunday aboard their De Rosa Protos

Israel Cycling Academy raced Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne on Sunday aboard their De Rosa Protos (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)
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Colbrelli wrapped his Vision Metron handlebars to the centre to improve comfort on the cobbles

Colbrelli wrapped his Vision Metron handlebars to the centre to improve comfort on the cobbles (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)
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EF Education First-Drapac's POC kit is made in Belgium by Bioracer

EF Education First-Drapac's POC kit is made in Belgium by Bioracer (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)
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Niki Terpstra wore colour-coordinated DeFeet wollen booties and gloves for Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

Niki Terpstra wore colour-coordinated DeFeet wollen booties and gloves for Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)
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Zdenek Stybar used the old school technique of some old paper under his jacket to add further insulation to his chest

Zdenek Stybar used the old school technique of some old paper under his jacket to add further insulation to his chest (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)
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Stybar also wore some heavily insulated gloves

Stybar also wore some heavily insulated gloves (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)
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A Team Sky mechanic replaced each of the batteries in the Stages power meters ahead of Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne

A Team Sky mechanic replaced each of the batteries in the Stages power meters ahead of Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)
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Fresh bearings and heavily greased headsets for Team Sky in preparation for the cobbles of Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne

Fresh bearings and heavily greased headsets for Team Sky in preparation for the cobbles of Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)
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Several teams brought their mechanics' buses to the start/finish line at Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne

Several teams brought their mechanics' buses to the start/finish line at Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)
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Sonny Colbrelli's (Bahrain-Merida) Merida Reacto

Sonny Colbrelli's (Bahrain-Merida) Merida Reacto (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)
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WB Aqua Protect Veranclassic raced aboard their blue and fluoro Ridley Helium SLX bikes

WB Aqua Protect Veranclassic raced aboard their blue and fluoro Ridley Helium SLX bikes (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)
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The entire Team Sky team raced on Pinarello Dogma K10 bikes over the weekend

The entire Team Sky team raced on Pinarello Dogma K10 bikes over the weekend (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)
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Team Roompot Nederlandse Loterij raced aboard Isaac Element bikes

Team Roompot Nederlandse Loterij raced aboard Isaac Element bikes (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)
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New season, new cassettes for the Dutch team

New season, new cassettes for the Dutch team (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)
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K-Edge's presence at the top level of cycling is becoming more and more prominent

K-Edge's presence at the top level of cycling is becoming more and more prominent (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)
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Some riders opt for the entry level Garmin Edge 25 computer

Some riders opt for the entry level Garmin Edge 25 computer (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)
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Vital Concept Cycling Club deployed some unique bike stands

Vital Concept Cycling Club deployed some unique bike stands (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)
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The new Vital Concept team raced on Orbea Orcas

The new Vital Concept team raced on Orbea Orcas (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)
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An extra long stem leaves plenty of room for race notes

An extra long stem leaves plenty of room for race notes (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)
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Vital Concept use Cycling Ceramic jockey wheels

Vital Concept use Cycling Ceramic jockey wheels (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)
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The rider sign-on for Omloop Het Nieuwsblad took place inside the historic t'Kuipe velodrome in Gent

The rider sign-on for Omloop Het Nieuwsblad took place inside the historic t'Kuipe velodrome in Gent (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)
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UAE Team Emirates debuted the new Conago C64 on the cobbles over the weekend

UAE Team Emirates debuted the new Conago C64 on the cobbles over the weekend (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)
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Plenty of high-end racing shoes are designed with ventilation in mind and latex covers kept the cold air out

Plenty of high-end racing shoes are designed with ventilation in mind and latex covers kept the cold air out (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)
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The best part of 50 degrees Celsius is the difference between Alex Edmondson's season opener in Australia versus Belgium

The best part of 50 degrees Celsius is the difference between Alex Edmondson's season opener in Australia versus Belgium (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)
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Mathew Hayman opts for woollen gloves over his normal race mitts

Mathew Hayman opts for woollen gloves over his normal race mitts (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)
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Niki Terpstra deployed the unorthadox method of smothering his face with Vaseline to keep the cold at bay

Niki Terpstra deployed the unorthadox method of smothering his face with Vaseline to keep the cold at bay (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)
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Iljo Keisse had his handlebars specced for the cobbles with satellite shifters on the top of the bars

Iljo Keisse had his handlebars specced for the cobbles with satellite shifters on the top of the bars (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)
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Wanty-Groupe Gobert's eye-catching Cube Litening C:68

Wanty-Groupe Gobert's eye-catching Cube Litening C:68 (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)
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Each of the Wanty-Groupe Gobert riders had their tyre pressures marked on the top tube in preparation for Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

Each of the Wanty-Groupe Gobert riders had their tyre pressures marked on the top tube in preparation for Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)
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The majority of the peloton stick with 25mm tyres for the relatively tame cobbles of Flanders

The majority of the peloton stick with 25mm tyres for the relatively tame cobbles of Flanders (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)
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Cofidis raced with Michelin Power Competition tyres

Cofidis raced with Michelin Power Competition tyres (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)
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A look at Cofidis' Campagnolo equipped Kuota Khan race bikes

A look at Cofidis' Campagnolo equipped Kuota Khan race bikes (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)
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Zdenek Stybar had a Specialized Tarmac Disc as a spare bike for Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

Zdenek Stybar had a Specialized Tarmac Disc as a spare bike for Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)
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Greg Van Avermaet also had a disc-equipped machine as a spare bike

Greg Van Avermaet also had a disc-equipped machine as a spare bike (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)
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Tyre pressures were critical for all riders over both races

Tyre pressures were critical for all riders over both races (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)
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Alexis Gougeard's (AG2R La Mondiale) Factor O2 was equipped with Osymmetric 54/42 chainrings

Alexis Gougeard's (AG2R La Mondiale) Factor O2 was equipped with Osymmetric 54/42 chainrings (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)
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All of the AG2R La Mondiale rear derailleurs are equipped with the CeramicSpeed OSPW system

All of the AG2R La Mondiale rear derailleurs are equipped with the CeramicSpeed OSPW system (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)
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Silvain Dillier's spare bike had a Shimano Ultegra crankset

Silvain Dillier's spare bike had a Shimano Ultegra crankset (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)
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The Scott Foil RS of Mitchelton-Scott's Chris Juul-Jensen

The Scott Foil RS of Mitchelton-Scott's Chris Juul-Jensen (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)
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Team Sky's Pinarello's are paired with MOST cockpits for 2018

Team Sky's Pinarello's are paired with MOST cockpits for 2018 (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)
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Several teams had these words of encouragement on their top tubes in the cold conditions

Several teams had these words of encouragement on their top tubes in the cold conditions (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)
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Eisel's Cervelo R3 was equipped with the new ENVE SES Aero road stem

Eisel's Cervelo R3 was equipped with the new ENVE SES Aero road stem (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)
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Team LottoNL-Jumbo's iconic celeste Bianchi Oltre XR4 took victory on Sunday's Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne

Team LottoNL-Jumbo's iconic celeste Bianchi Oltre XR4 took victory on Sunday's Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)
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Ignatus Konovalovas' Lapierre Xelius in the national champion colours of Lithuania

Ignatus Konovalovas' Lapierre Xelius in the national champion colours of Lithuania (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)
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Dutch champion Ramon Sinkeldam added more colour to FDJ's Lapierre lineup

Dutch champion Ramon Sinkeldam added more colour to FDJ's Lapierre lineup (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)
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A simple solution to knowing what is coming up and when

A simple solution to knowing what is coming up and when (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)
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Omloop winner Michael Valgren as well as podium finisher Sep Vanmarcke raced with FSA Energy alloy handlebars

Omloop winner Michael Valgren as well as podium finisher Sep Vanmarcke raced with FSA Energy alloy handlebars (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)
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The unique shape of Fortuneo-Samsic's Look 795 bikes

The unique shape of Fortuneo-Samsic's Look 795 bikes (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)
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Bernie Eisel raced on a Cervelo R3 in stock finish as opposed to team colours

Bernie Eisel raced on a Cervelo R3 in stock finish as opposed to team colours (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)
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Team Dimension Data are using Astute saddles for the 2018 season

Team Dimension Data are using Astute saddles for the 2018 season (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)
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Oversocks combined with toe warmers were a common trend for the freezing temperatures over the weekend

Oversocks combined with toe warmers were a common trend for the freezing temperatures over the weekend (Image credit: Josh Evans/Immediate Media)

Belgium's 'opening weekend' races of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne are the unofficial official start to the new cycling season. This year's events took place in completely dry, but brutally cold conditions, which rarely rose above 3 or 4 degrees and were combined with a substantial wind chill.

Riders layered up with the latest and greatest their teams' clothing providers offer in an attempt to cope with the freezing temperatures. The latest technical fabrics helped to take some of the edge off the cold, although doubling up on gloves, booties, jackets and neck scarves was still necessary for most of the riders.

Quick-Step Floors' Classics hard men Zdenek Stybar and Niki Terpstra used tricks from a bygone era in conjunction with their modern cycling apparel. To shield his face from the wind chill, Terpstra chose to smother his face with Vaseline to add a veil of extra protection during the races.

Again to combat the driving wind, and perhaps with an inclination of knowing he would be lighting up the front of the race for most of the day, Stybar used an old piece of cardboard to add an extra insulating layer in between his jersey and jacket, a trick that has been used by seasoned cyclists since the days of Fausto Coppi and before with bits of cardboard and even newspapers.

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad changed its course for 2018 to mirror the old finish of the Tour of Flanders. Both races from opening weekend use many of the same Kassien (cobbles) sectors and Hellingen (climbs) as 'De Ronde'. With this in mind, most teams switched to more robust tyre compound than the usual supple rubber used, although the majority stuck with the common 25mm size choice.

Most of the teams lined up on their preferred race bikes although Team Sky raced on their updated endurance frameset, the Pinarello Dogma K10.

Away from the conditions and courses, with the Classics comes the expectation of disc brakes being used in the WorldTour peloton. Disc brakes have already been seen in the Australian and Middle Eastern races this season, with certain teams outwardly committing to the extensive use of them for 2018.

Interestingly however, just a handful of disc brake equipped bikes were seen and even then just as spare bikes on the roof of the Quick-Step Floors and BMC Racing team cars. No disc brake equipped bikes were seen within either of the races themselves.

Click or swipe through the extensive gallery above to see how the riders battled the cold and all the tech that was on show at the first Classics of the 2018 season.