Boonen will be hoping for a better result than last year's Het Nieuwsblad, when he and Etixx-QuickStep team-mates Niki Terpstra and Stijn Vandenbergh were overhauled by Sky's Ian Stannard.
BMC leader Van Avermaet chats to Preben Van Hecke as they ride along a smoother part of the route. Van Avermaet was sixth last year, and second in 2014.
Having spent the preceding weeks racing in the likes of Qatar, Oman and Australia, it may be a shock to the system for some riders to return to the cold conditions of northern Europe.
Belgian riders from various teams meet up for a friendly ride on the cobbles: rivalries will only surface when the racing gets underway.
The Belgian WorldTour outfit will field a full-strength team at Het Nieuwsblad, including Tom Boonen, Niki Terpstra and Tony Martin
When the wind blows in Belgium, it can split a race to pieces. Bad weather plays as much of a part in how the race may unfold as the cobbles and hills, and the lack of shelter along the route can make it a bleak experience.
Omloop Het Nieuwsblad is not only a prestigious race in its own right, but also serves as a warm-up to later races such as the Tour of Flanders.
Lotto-Soudal has undertaken a couple of reconnaissance runs on the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad route, as they seek to overturn the dominance of fellow Belgian team Etixx-QuickStep. The team may have to do without André Greipel, as the German fractured a rib in the Volta ao Algarve.
Boonen has won pretty much every other classic – often more than once – but a win at Het Nieuwsblad has always eluded him. Could this be the year?