Cycling news - Zdenek Stybar times attack to perfection to win Omloop Het Nieuwsblad
The Spring Classic season started with a bang as Zdenek Stybar triumphed after 200km of racing in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.
Zdenek Stybar of Czech Republic and Team Deceuninck Quick-Step / Celebration / during the 74th Omloop Het Nieuwsblad 2019 a 200km race from Gent to Ninove / FLanders Classics / @OmloopHNB / on March 02, 2019 in Ninove, Belgium
Published 02/03/2019 at 13:16 GMT | Updated 02/03/2019 at 20:27 GMT
The race that signals the start of the spring season was animated from the start, with a small breakaway opening up a sizeable gap. But slightly damp conditions and a series of testing climbs meant they were never likely to stay away, and so it proved.
The Kapelmuur provided the turning point as expected, further splitting an already broken race and establishing a leading group of five going into the final 15km.
Greg van Avermaet was among that number, but it was Stybar who made the winning move, catching the others off guard with 2.5km remaining and opening up a big enough gap to allow him the luxury of soaking in the celebrations across the line.
“Finally it happened and I could finish it off in a cobbled classic! The feeling is really nice, the form is good and the team has confidence in me, which is so important; everything fell into place today and I am so happy with what I achieved, that I can’t put it into words”, Stybar said in a statement released by his team after the win.
"The race was different than last year, because we had a tailwind in the second part and this helped. The real race started on the Molenberg and we worked well together, even on the Muur and Bosberg, believing we could make it to the finish line. Initially, I was waiting for the sprint, but with two kilometers left I felt it was the right moment to go and thus went full gas.”