The 73rd edition of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, the second as UCI WorldTour classic, will be bigger and better than ever before thanks to the renewed route with start in Ghent and finish in Meerbeke, Ninove. 't Kuipke in Ghent will become a temple of cycling, the ideal spot to welcome the peloton on European soil in a proper way.
After the succes of the first edition, all cycling fans will be welcome again in the Ghent Kuipke for the arrival of the riders in Flanders. This we will once again do with a fabulous team presentation. Not only the male riders will undergo a traditional first inspection, also their female companions will show themselves a first time to the big crowd of cycling fans. Both 24 Elite Women's teams and 25 Elite Men's teams will be presented on the Flanders Classics-stage between 9:00 a.m. and 11:15 a.m.
Both the team presentations in 't Kuipke as entrance to the riders village in the adjoining indoor Floralien hall, where the busses of the men's teams will arrive, are free to the audience. The riders village of the Women's Elite teams can be found on the Hofbouwlaan and Jan Hoet square.
A Omloop first in the 2018 edition is that both Elite Men and Elite Women will depart almost at the same time on the same location, being near the ICC Ghent on the Emile Clauslaan. With two adjoining paddocks, women's Elite will start their Omloop at the same time as the men. As soon as the green flag in the Men's race has passed after the start (11:30 am), the women's race starts immediately after on the Hofbouwlaan.
Last year's winner, Lucinda Brand (Team Sunweb) is all positive about the adjustments: "The bringing together of the men's peloton and the women's peloton is an important evolution. You can see women's cycling growing every year and this media attention makes it interesting for sponsors to invest. That's how women's cycling will get more professional. This is a very important step."