February 24, 2011
The Cobbled Curtain Raiser
For the eager cycling fan, the start of the season is marked these days by the Tour Down Under in January. Others consider the true season opener to be the Paris-Nice stage race in mid-March. For everyone else, the 2011 racing season truly gets under way this Saturday in Belgium, with the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (formerly ‘Het Volk’).
Just as the Tour de France contenders require stage races to hone their racing acumen early in the year, as do the classics specialists require one day races to get into the mood. The Omloop Het Nieuwsblad provides just this. It is about 200km long, there are short sharp cobbled climbs and if the weather forecast is to be believed, there’ll be rain.