Teams for the 65th Omloop Het Nieuwsblad announced
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Saturday, February 13, 2010

Teams for the 65th Omloop Het Nieuwsblad announced

by VeloNation Press at 3:42 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics

Organizers of the Belgian season opener Omloop Het Nieuwsblad have announced the 25 teams that will be taking part in this year's event. This year will be the 65th edition of the the race, which will see 13 ProTour teams take the start.

The race will showcase the season's first battle at home between Belgians Tom Boonen (Quick Step) and Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto), the latter coming off a 2009 that saw him dominate the final four races of the year. Last year's winner Thor Hushovd (Cervélo TestTeam) started off the team's Classics campaign on a strong note, and will return with teammate Heinrch Haussler, whose performances in 2009 merit his co-leadership of the squad.

Belgian Gert Steegmans (RadioShack) has said he's ready to forget about the dispute with his former Katusha team which saw him sit out much of 2009, with team director Johan Bruyneel expecting big things from his compatriot. Steegman's former teammate Filippo Pozzato and Swiss rider Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank) will also be present to hone their form. Team Sky's Juan Antonio Flecha will lead the new British team along with Edvald Boasson Hagen, the winner of last year's Gent-Wevelgem.

The new-look BMC Racing team of George Hincapie and Alessandro Ballan will also be looking at a fresh start to the Classics as first year members of the squad. The pair will also have teammate Marcus Burghardt, which will add more depth to the team. The Dutch Vacansoleil team will also be in attendance, and will be led by a motivated Johnny Hoogerland, who claims he's ready to make his mark in the Spring.

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, which was formerly Het Volk, is a key point in the season for riders planning to peak for the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, along with Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne and E3 Prijs, are typically good indicators of how a rider's form is progressing as they build toward the cobbled Classics.

Organizers originally gave the Vorarlberg-Corratec Continental team the nod for a start, but instead have given the go ahead to the Verandas Willems squad. The An Post-Sean Kelly team have also been given a place, and will pin their hopes on 39-year-old Belgian Niko Eeckhout. This is the first year the team has been registered under a Belgian license.

Teams for the 65th Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

13 ProTour Teams:
Omega Pharma - Lotto
Quick Step
Team Saxo Bank
Française des Jeux
Team Sky
Team Milram
Team Katusha

11 Pro Continental Teams:
Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator
BBox Bouygues Telecom
Acqua & Sapone
Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team
Cervélo TestTeam
BMC Racing Team

2 Continental Teams:
Willems Verandas
An Post-Sean Kelly



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