Flemish Opening-weekend 2023 (Omloop&Kuurne) - Stats

Friday 24 February 2023 • Stats

Daniël Herbers

2023 cycling season is finally here. Let's get it started! Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne are since 1961 raced in the same weekend. They are the traditional kick-off of the cycling season. Riders win often with a solo in Omloop, while in Kuurne victory more often goes to the fastests guy still in the bunch. Who will succeed Wout van Aert and Fabio Jakobsen as winners in 2022?

By Daniël (@StatsOnCycling)

The Curse of Omloop (and Kuurne)

We'll start of with the most reknown fact about Omloop Het Nieuwsblad: the winner of Omloop never won Tour of Flanders in the same year. Sagan (2016) and Boonen (2005 + 2012), were close with a second place in Omloop and victory in 'de Ronde' while Terpstra (2015) and Van Avermaet (2014) finished 2nd in both Omloop and Ronde of that season. Sagan, Peter Van Petegem and Langeveld were the only riders since 2000 who finished top-5 in De Ronde after winning Omloop. Omloop's winner more often won Paris-Roubaix (Van Avermaet (2017), Merckx (1973), Franco Ballerini (1995) and Museeuw (2000).

There is a small curse on winning Kuurne. 3 times did the winner of KBK also win Tour of Flanders. Andrei Tschmil was the last one who did so in 2000. Since that moment, Boonen and Hincapie were the best performers in Omloop after their Kuurne-victory: they finished 7th.

Two wins in two days?

Never since 1961 (first time classic opening-weekend) a rider won both Omloop and Kuurne, in 10 occassions someone scored a double top-3, Sagan (2017) en Boonen (2007) were the only ones since 2000. 19 times since 2000 a double top-10 finish was achieved. Stuyven and Trentin succeeded to finish top-10 in both Omloop and Kuurne already 3 times, Boonen and Sagan did it twice.

Tom Boonen in Omloop Het Volk (PCS)
Boonen in Omloop (ProCyclingStats)

Despite many top-results in Omloop, Tom Boonen never won the first spring-classic of the season, probably the biggest gap in his palmares. Tom Boonen is the only rider who won Kuurke-Bruxelles-Kuurne 3 times. It is quite remarkable that only 12 riders are multipe winners in the history of KBK. Apparantly its difficult to win twice on the second day of the opening-weekend. Museeuw, De Vlaeminck and Van Petegem are the ones with most wins in Omloop and Kuurne in history: 4 wins. 

10 riders with both races on their palmares

10 riders (among whom: Johan Museeuw, Roger De Vlaeminck, Planckaert (Walter), Nuyens, Stuyven and Boonen) won both Omloop and Kuurne. Jan Raas is the only non-Belgian who did so. Jasper Stuyven is sole active rider who won both races. Fun-fact: Eddy Merckx never participated in KBK. 5 out of 6 formers winners of Omloop are racing Omloop in 2023 as well (Ballerini, Stybar, Vanmarcke, Stuyven en Van Avemaet). Michael Valgren is the only one not present on Saturday.

Most wins in openingsweekend:
4 | Museeuw (2 Omloop /2 Kuurne)
4 | De Vlaeminck (2/2)
4 | Van Petegem (3/1)
3 | Raas (1/2)
3 | Planckaert, W. (2/1)
3 | Planckaert, E.  (1/2)
3 | Boonen (0/3)
3 | Bruyère (3/0)
3 | Sterckx (3/0)
2 | De Cabooter (1/1)
2 | Pieters (1/1)
2 | Merckx, E. (1/1)
2 | Stuyven (1/1)

Meeste podiumplaatsen in het Openingsweekend
Podiumplaatsen in het Openingsweekend

Tom Boonen is with 8 top-3 results the most frequent podium-finisher in the opening weekend. In seven different seasons Boonen drank his first beer in the first weekend of classic-racing. Greg Van Avermaet and Juan Antiono Flecha both finished often top-3 in Omloop, but never in Kuurne. 

Greg Van Avermaet most experienced in opening-weekend

Golden Greg will race his 16th Omloop and 12th Kuurne. Only Tom Boonen and Sébastien Hinault participated more often in one of both season-openers. If Greg finishes both classics this weekend, he is the rider with most finishes: 27, one more than Tom Boonen. 

Among acitve pros, Schär (24), Petit (21), Boasson Hagen (21) and Keukeleire (20) will also have 20 or more starts after this weekend.

Jumbo Visma without any days of racing in Omloop

Team Jumbo-Visma will start Omloop without any racedays 'in the legs'. Last year, Wout van Aert was the first rider since Joseph Bruyère in 1980 to win Omloop without any racing days up to that moment. Since 2000, the winner raced at least 4 days and on average 9. Will Laporte, Benoot or van Baarle prolong this new trend?

Van Avermaet and Jan Raas 9 top-10s in Omloop

Greg Van Avermaet finished 9 out of his 15 participations with the first 10, in 2022 as well (3rd). With a top-10 this Saturday, he wil be sole leader. Combined with KBK, 5 riders finished more often top-10: Walter Planckaert is leading with 16 top-10s just before Museeuw (14), Raas, Tschmil and Boonen (13 each).

Meeste top-10 plaatsen in het Openingsweekend (Omloop en Kuurne)
Top-10 in Openingsweekend

Among active pros, Vanmarcke (6) and Stuyven and Trentin (5) are closest to GVA. With 3 additional top-10s in KBK, Trentin was most succesful in the opening-weekend (but never won!).

Mollema one of eldest debutants in Omloop

Bauke Mollema is looking forward to race again on the Flemish road (first participation in Flemish cobbled-classic since Nokere Koerse 2008). With 36 years and 86 days he will be one of the eldest debutants in Omloop. Last year, Cameron Wurf became the eldest since 2010.

38y 202d - Wurf (2022)
38y 16d - Mazzanti (2012)
37y 120d - Andriotto (2010)
37y 22d - Sutherland (2019)
36y 330d - Weening (2018)
36y 246d - Kiendys (2014)
36y 139d - House (2017)
36y 86d - Mollema (2023)

Kristoff never top-10 in Omloop

Omloop is de only big spring-classic in which Alexander Kristoff paticipated but not finished top-10 so far (best result 11th in 2015). According to the computer-model, Kristoff is second biggest favourite for the win, but just didn't succeed to finish top-10 in his first 9 attempts. Omloop might be, surprisingly, the race that fits best to his abilities.

Will the Norwegian succeed in 2023? We will see!

We are ready for 2023. Have fun with 'koers'!

Compare riders