Tratnik rounds off clever teamwork in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

Tratnik rounds off clever teamwork in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

Jan Tratnik has won the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in fine fashion. The 34-year-old Slovenian appeared on the scene in the final of a yellow and black dominated day, before beating fellow escapee rider Nils Politt. After a display of power along the way, Wout van Aert and Christophe Laporte also managed to secure a place in the top five.

"This was probably the biggest win of my career," Tratnik responded afterwards. "In the past, I did not often compete in the classics, so I did not have much experience in these kind of races. Given our strong team for the classics, I took the role of domestique today. So I was surprised to end up in the lead in the final. This was a win for the whole team."

It was racing from the start in the first classic on Belgian soil. On the roads with strong winds, Team Visma | Lease a Bike took control. In the first hour of the race, the peloton already split into several pieces driven by the yellow-and-black formation. Van Aert, Laporte, Matteo Jorgenson, Tiesj Benoot and Edoardo Affini - who later had a puncture - were all part of a large breakaway. Tratnik and former winner Dylan van Baarle settled in the chasing group.

In the final of the race, Team Visma | Lease a Bike continued to create a surplus. Van Aert, Laporte and Jorgenson rode together with Arnaud De Lie, Toms Skujiņš and Tom Pidcock towards Kapelmuur and Bosberg, the two final hills of the race. On an intermediate section, Jorgenson attacked, allowing the American - who made his debut for Team Visma | Lease a Bike - to start the Bosberg with a bonus. The chasing group, with Tratnik, never gave up, resulting in a major coalescence after the Bosberg. The signal for the Slovenian to launch an ultimate attack attempt. Together with Politt, he rode towards the finishline in Ninove. From a good position, Tratnik set up the sprint, which he managed to round off flawlessly. At that point, it marked the fifth win of the season for the team.

"We bleven er heel de wedstrijd in geloven"

Jan Tratnik

"We kept believing throughout the race," said Tratnik. "It was one of those races that never fell into its fold and anything could happen. In the beginning of the race I missed the good breakaway of Wout, Christophe and Matteo. Thanks to good team play at the front, I had little to worry about in the chasing group. When it all finally came together on the Bosberg, I decided to launch my attack. I felt that might be the moment of the race. I was a bit worried about my sprinting ability, but Politt launched early, which gave me the opportunity to pass him."

In the sprint for third place in a depleted peloton, Van Aert was the fastest. Laporte finished fifth. "We knew we could count on several riders of ours in this race," the Belgian responded. "We dared to take initiative and that was rewarded. Before the Kapelmuur, we tried to play out our surplus in the leading group by having Matteo attack. Behind us, the peloton also came very close, but we knew Jan and Dylan were also in there. That gave me peace of mind. We actually had the advantage throughout the race. This was a very fine win."


Related updates