Luca Paolini (Katusha) took victory in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad ahead of breakaway companion Stijn Vandenbergh (Omega Pharma-Quick-Step). They finished ahead of Sven Vandousselaere (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise) who led home the chase group.
Early in the race a large breakaway of nine riders set the pace. The breakaway consisted of Cyril Lemoine (Sojasun), Julien Fouchard (Cofidis), Nico Sijmens (Cofidis), Florian Vachon (Bretagne), Jérôme Cousin (Europcar), Zakkari Dempster (Netapp), Gatis Smukulis (Katusha), William Clarke (Argos-Shimano) and Preben Van Hecke (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise).
When the group reached the first set of cobblestone sections they had an advantage of five minutes. However, from that point on their lead slowly decreased and by the time they arrived at the Taaienberg climb their lead was down to about a minute. The chase behind shredded the peloton and by the following Eikenberg climb there were only 40 riders left near the front of the race.
Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) launched the first major attack of the day and was joined by Marco Bandiera (IAM). The two riders soon joined what was left of the early breakaway. Next to join the front was Greg Van Avermaet (BMC), Geraint Thomas (Sky), Jurgen Roelandts (Lotto), Maarten Wynants (Blanco), Sven Vandousselaere (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise), Egoitz Garcia Etxegibel (Cofidis) and Paolini. As the group swelled from behind, Chavanel attacked off the front with 45km left in the race. Chavanel gained 30-seconds before a Van Avermaet led chase brought him back. By the top of the last climb only 10 men remained at the front – Thomas, Paolini, Roelandts, Vandenbergh, Chavanel, Van Avermaet, Garcia, Wynants, Vandousselaere and Bandiera.
Eventually Vandenbergh accelerated on a section of pavé with only Paolini being able to hold his wheel. Once clear, the two riders extended their lead all the way to the finish where Paolini positioned Vandenbergh on the front with 500 meters remaining. With 300 meters left, Paolini sprinted past Vandenbergh for the win.
2013 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad
1. Luca Paolini (Ita/Katusha) 4:52:15
2. Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel/Omega Pharma-Quick-Step) @ s.t.
3. Sven Vandousselaere (Bel/Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise) @ 1:13
4. Geraint Thomas (GBr/Sky) @ s.t.
5. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel/BMC)
6. Marco Bandiera (Ita/IAM)
7. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra/Omega Pharma-Quick-Step)
8. Jurgen Roelandts (Bel/Lotto)
9. Maarten Wynants (Bel/Blanco)
10. Egoitz Garcia Etxegibel (Spa/Cofidis)