5 riders to watch for Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne - Video

Peter Sagan (Tinkoff)

Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

The double header of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne signals the start of the cobbled Classics. Over the next seven weeks we can expect a veritable feast of the pavé, culminating with the third monument of the year, Paris-Roubaix.

This weekend, most riders will compete in both Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne but the parcours generally dictate that it will be very different riders who come up trumps.

Ian Stannard won last year’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad after getting the better of a trio of Etixx-QuickStep riders. The Belgian team, however, were the ones smiling the following day in Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne when Mark Cavendish beat Alexander Kristoff in a sprint to the line.

Neither will be back to defend their titles but there is still a strong line-up for the opening cobbles weekend, including world champion Peter Sagan. Tom Boonen, a three-time winner of Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne, will also be in attendance.

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Born in Ireland to a cycling family and later moved to the Isle of Man, so there was no surprise when I got into the sport. Studied sports journalism at university before going on to do a Masters in sports broadcast. After university I spent three months interning at Eurosport, where I covered the Tour de France. In 2012 I started at Procycling Magazine, before becoming the deputy editor of Procycling Week. I then joined Cyclingnews, in December 2013.