Roadside Report: Out there in the rain and cold at the Het Nieuwsblad on Saturday was our battle hardened reporter Ed Hood who wouldn't have dreamed of being anywhere else. With the hard man ingredients of cold & cobbles with perhaps the odd Belgian beer to warm him up, it was the perfect start to the Classics campaign.
Race Report: The cobbled races started today with the 2014 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and it was a classic battle in terrible weather that came down to the sprint between two hardmen of the peloton, Ian Stannard and Greg Van Avermaet.
Today the Lotto Belisol riders did a recon of the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. The material was tested one last time and the course was thoroughly scrutinized. Nine Lotto Belisol riders took part in the ride. Non-Belgians Marcel Sieberg and Lars Bak stayed one more day in their home country after their return from the Tour of Oman. Vegard Breen and Kris Boeckmans accompanied the team and used the recon as a training for Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne and also Kenny Dehaes, who lives in the neighbourhood, joined the group.
You can't keep a man like Ed Hood away from the races. Every year, as the Belgian opening weekend approaches, the tickets are booked, and he's there, like clockwork. Let's take a look back at Ed's day chasing and watching the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, or Gent-Gent as the classicists prefer.
It's the world's slowest sprint; Sebastian Langeveld and Juan Antonio Flecha are both wasted, small wonder, the Dutchman has been out front for the last quarter of the race on this foulest of days, and the man from Argentina has made a monstrous effort to bridge, over the concrete section and cobbles. They both look over geared as they lunge, swerve, rock and heave towards the line.