Bring forth the Omloop!

And bring forth the Spring Classics, the first significant chapter in the racing season.

Last year Ian Stannard won Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, the traditional opener. He won it the year before too, but this year he’s skiving. However, Team Sky remains the place to look for Britons.

In the absence of Stannard and Geraint Thomas, Luke Rowe becomes ‘the main man’. The Welshman remains pretty low profile but finished ninth in the race last year before managing a more-than-respectable eighth in Paris-Roubaix. At just 25, he’s presumably a year stronger and wiser rather than a year wearier and more decrepit. You can probably consider him ‘one to watch’ for the next few weeks.

Rowe claims that when he was 11, he won the Welsh Open Clog Dancing Championships. I have no idea if that’s true, but I dearly hope so.