Jan Tratnik and Marianne Vos claim victories in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

<span>Jan Tratnik celebrates on the podium after winning the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.</span><span>Photograph: Shutterstock</span>
Jan Tratnik celebrates on the podium after winning the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.Photograph: Shutterstock

Jan Tratnik pulled off a stunning Omloop Het Nieuwsblad victory to earn what he described as the “biggest win in my life”, with the 34-year-old Slovenian pouncing in the last 10km to surprise his more feted rivals and teammates.

It was a day for the veteran riders as Marianne Vos, 36, won the sprint to finish top of the podium at the Belgian race for the first time. Home favourite Lotte Kopecky and Italian champion Elisa Longo Borghini both tried to power past Vos in the dash to the line, but were unable deny the Dutch rider a 249th career win.

In the men’s race, Visma-Lease A Bike got first and third place on the podium, as Wout van Aert triumphed in a bunch sprint behind Tratnik and second-placed Nils Politt, but that would not have been the rider combination the Dutch super-team would have been expecting on the bus pre-race.

Even with 20km to go it looked more likely that Van Aert or Matteo Jorgenson were set to take the victory, but as the lead group reformed, Politt and Tratnik made a daring bid to go clear and pulled out a 16-second lead as the riders came into Ninove. Politt led the sprint out deep into the final kilometre, but looked exhausted by the time the veteran Tratnik swung out past him on the run to the line.

“I’m a little surprised to win that, because [Visma-Lease A Bike] have such a strong team for the Classics,” said Tratnik. “In the past I didn’t do many Classics and today I was more in domestique role, but still. The guys did a really good job in the first half of the race. I just missed [the breakaway] behind but I could not relax behind because we had five guys up front. Then it was a case of keep believing. We caught back all the guys and then I just went to counterattack. I was a little worried in the last kilometre if I could win the sprint but then I saw Nils start quite early so I started to believe I could win.”

The peloton was blown up early on in proceedings, with a large breakaway of more than 30 riders getting away. This was cut down further with around 50km to go as Christophe Laporte, Van Aert, Jorgenson, Gianni Moscon (Soudal-QuickStep), Tom Pidcock (Ineos Grenadiers), Toms Skujins (Lidl-Trek), Arnaud De Lie (Lotto-Dstny) looking as if they would decide the race between them.

Jorgenson’s Visma-Lease A Bike teammates took their foot off the accelerator when the American made his move at 17km to go and ultimately lost control of the lead group, allowing it to swell from an elite bunch of six to more than 20 riders. Tom Pidcock was well positioned with the leaders going into the final stages but was not able to make it stick, ultimately finishing eighth.

“I was blowing at the end,” he told Eurosport post-race. “It was tough, racing from 30km out is especially so. We knew from the start the wind would be strong, it caused the race split, even if it wasn’t as strong as we thought. We were up the road with a 40-second split for goodness knows how long, but it just didn’t happen. I lost the legs at the end, but that’s how it is.”

Longo Borghini made a lot of the running in the women’s race, coming from back in the pack to blow past the original lead group, but Vos would not be denied. With Longo Borghini up the road, world champion Kopecky made a dart at top of the Muur climb late on, but this only brought Vos and Shirin van Anrooij along with her to form the final four that would go to the line.