Omloop Het Nieuwsblad will be shown on Eurosport and GCN as broadcasters strike last-minute deal
There were concerns the first cobbled Classic would not be available in the UK
Omloop Het Nieuwsblad will be shown on Eurosport and GCN as the broadcasters managed to strike a last-minute deal with the race organisers.
Both the men's and women's races will be aired across the Eurosport and GCN platforms exclusively across most of Europe, except for Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg where the racing will be live non-exclusively.
Initially the sister broadcasters were not able to obtain rights to air the first cobbled Classic of the 2021 on Saturday, February 27, causing particular concern for UK cycling fans.
Instead the action was scheduled to be shown live on Sporza and RTBF in Belgium, L’Equipe in France and NOS in the Netherlands, meaning British racing fans would not be able to watch Omloop Het Nieuwsblad through their usual cycling broadcasters.
But Eurosport and GCN announced on Wednesday evening (February 24), just three days before the flag drops, that they had reached an agreement with race organiser Flanders Classics to broadcast the race on its platforms across Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.
Guy Voisin, director of cycling production, said: “Eurosport X GCN is happy to be able to bring the opening spring Classic of 2021 to our cycling fans across Europe. As the home of cycling, our ambition is to develop our cycling offer which in 2021 will see our community of fans enjoy more than 300 days of cycling action.”
This means UK cycling fans will be able to watch all the action live from 2.10pm GMT (2.10 CET) on Saturday, across both the Eurosport and GCN platforms.
The Asia-Pacific region excludes China, New Zealand and Australia, but does include Japan and the Indian subcontinent.
GCN has recently launched a new subscription service called GCN+, offering extensive racing coverage as well as exclusive cycling documentaries.
However due to the complex nature of television rights negotiations, there are a number of major races currently missing from the GCN schedule, including Ghent-Wevelgem, Amstel Gold Race and Brabantse Pijl.
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But a spokesperson for GCN said the broadcaster is working on getting the rights to these missing races.
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Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers. Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.
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