Sebastian Langeveld Rounds out the Ronde van Vlaanderen Top Ten

Mon 1 Apr 2013

Sebastian Langeveld rounded out the top ten of the Ronde van Vlaanderen. Part of a group of 19 riders that formed the third time up Oude Kwaremont, Langeveld led the chase to the three riders ahead who would ultimately occupy the Flanders podium. Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack Leopard Trek) took a solo victory 1’27” ahead of Peter Sagan (Cannondale) and Jurgen Roelandts (Lotto Belisol). Twelve seconds later, Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) won the sprint for fourth place to led home Langeveld’s group.

“Sebastian was honest and agreed that the strongest one in the race today was Cancellara,” said Sport Director Laurenzo Lapage. “In the key moment, only Sagan was able to follow Cancellara. Sebastian made no excuses for this. Behind those two guys, for me, Sebastian was the strongest rider in the race. That’s sport and next week maybe the situation can be changed.”

ORICA-GreenEDGE was quiet during the first half of the race, which saw riders struggle to break away from the bunch.

“We took the risk not to go in the early moves because we needed numbers at the end,” explained Lapage. “Also, the part between the Valkenberg and Kwaremont is too long and too fast for a break to survive.”

As the race entered the hills, nine riders managed to break loose from the peloton. Europcar and RadioShack brought them back. Counter-attacks saw two riders from the early break survive and join forces with four riders who had bridged across. Six riders led the race with a 1’20” advantage at the foot of the first ascent of the Oude Kwaremont. Stuart O’Grady jumped from the bunch during the first loop.

“What Stuey did was a gamble,” noted Lapage. “It could have worked, and if it had, we would all have said it was great. Because it didn’t work, people want to call it a useless move. I don’t agree with that at all.”

“We lost Jens Keukeleire because of a puncture on the bottom of the Kwaremont the first time,” added Lapage. “That was bad luck. I’m sure Jens would have been in the front group without that problem.”

By the second ascent of the Oude Kwaremont, the gap to the leaders was down to 30” and the original six man break had lost one rider and absorbed two others.

The second loop saw another reshuffle at the front as riders continued to fall off pace and crash or mechanical out of contention After the second time up the Paterberg, only Mirko Selvaggi (Vacansoleil-DCM) and Michel Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) remained in front. They were joined by Yoann Offredo (FDJ), Sébastien Hinault (IAM), Sébastien Turgot (Europcar) and Roelandts between the Paterberg and the Hotond. Selvaggi lost contact before the start of the third lap, and the five leaders started lap three with a 30” advantage.

Roelandts and Hinault distanced their breakaway companions before the final ascent of the Oude Kwaremont. Over the cobbles, Roelandts gapped Hinault and forged ahead alone. Behind, Cancellara made his move. Only Sagan managed to hold the Swiss champion’s wheel.

Roelandts just aboard the train as Cancellara blew past him, and the trio hit the Paterberg with a 15” advantage. One last blow from Cancellara saw him gap Roelandts and Sagan. Over the Paterberg, Cancellara time trialed away from the field.

“I saw good work from the team today,” said Lapage. “If everyone had stuck to the plan, we could have had an even better result.”