Sebastian Langeveld Previews Ronde van VlaanderenFri 29 Mar 2013
Ronde van Vlaanderen. Flanders. The word evokes distinctive imagery. The riders call them ‘sectors’ – a benign word that belies the hellingen (hills) and pavé (cobbles) they’ll cover over 256 kilometres between Brugge and Oudenaarde. The camper vans began to show up several days ago along the course. They’ll be joined by the masses in coming days. Come Sunday, the fans will form a distinctive backdrop as they drink, eat and merrily celebrate their national sport.
“For me, the thing that makes the Tour of Flanders the most special is the spectators,” said Sebastian Langeveld. “It looks like the whole of Belgium is standing on the road!”
“When I was young, I saw all the big names winning this race,” added Langeveld. “Johan Museeuw, Rolf Sørensen, and Peter van Petegem. It’s just a special race, and it’s hard to explain until you see it yourself.”
Langeveld will lead the Australian outfit on Sunday. He finished in fifth place two years ago at Flanders. Last year, he crashed out of the race after jumping from the road to the bike path and colliding with a spectator. He broke his collarbone and was forced to the sidelines for several weeks.
“It’s hard to name a specific goal,” admitted Langeveld. “I’m happy when I can ride the final with the possibility to win the race. From there, anything can happen.”
ORICA-GreenEDGE has enjoyed a quietly confident build-up to the second monument of the season with Jens Keukeleire finishing seventh at Dwars door Vlaanderen and Langeveld slotting into fifth at E3 Harelbeke. While the team missed out on the results they had hoped to achieve at Driedaagse De Panne-Koksijde, Sport Director Laurenzo Lapage voiced satisfaction with the team’s aggressive style of racing.
“At Flanders, we have to ride 260 kilometres with 105% focus,” explained Langeveld. “You can save energy by knowing the race and by using your teammates in the right way. Normally, the race will start the first time up the Oude-Kwaremont.”
“Everybody on the team will have a specific role,” Langeveld continued. “For example, Jens Mouris is really important during the first 150 kilometres. His job will be to keep me out of the wind and position me on the front in the right moments. I hope that we have numbers in the last 50 kilometres. I’ll be prepared to do all my own work by the second time up Oude-Kwaremont, 24 kilometres from the finish.”
Asked to describe the race in ten words or less, Langeveld said simply: “De mooiste wedstrijd van het jar.”
It’s the most beautiful race of the year.
ORICA-GreenEDGE for Ronde van Vlaanderen: