Sebastian Langeveld Spends Day in the Break at Tirreno-Adriatico

Mon 11 Mar 2013

Sebastian Langeveld featured in the eight rider escape group that dominated the first five hours of racing at Tirreno-Adriatico. Several teams expressed interest in the stage finish and combined forces to reel in the breakaway on the Passo Lanciano with 43 kilometres left to race.

“It was a good day for the team,” said Sport Director Neil Stephens. “We gave the stage a shot. We had a tactic to get Sebastian or Stuart [O’Grady] into the break, and it was team effort by everybody to make that happen.”

Despite the rolling roads and long day ahead, the peloton set a rapid pace to start stage five.  It took nearly half an hour for the day’s break to form.

“From the start, we knew that we were going to give it a good try to help Stuart or Langeveld into the early move,” explained Stephens. “Sebastian got away with a good group. There were some fantastic bike riders up there.”

Langeveld was joined by Valerio Agnoli (Astana), Michael Schar (BMC), Maxim Belkov (Katusha), Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Merida), Stijn Devolder (RadioShack Leopard Trek), Juan Antonia Flecha (Vacansoleil-DCM) and Oscar Gatto (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia). Cesare Benedetti (NetApp-Endura) also made the move but lost contact after narrowly avoiding a crash. The escape group built up a maximum gap of 8:15 around the 100 kilometre mark. In an effort to curb the advantage, Omega Pharma-QuickStep and Sky began to organize the chase.

“Unfortunately, a lot of different teams wanted to bring back the break,” noted Stephens. “Cannondale, Katusha, Sky, QuickStep and RadioShack all contributed to the chase.”

The breakaway had 3:15 over the peloton at the foot of Passo Lanciano. The 12 kilometre ascent summited 40 kilometres from the stage finish. Langeveld’s group split on the climb when Cunego attacked his breakmates to tackle the upper slopes of the mountain alone.

“Sebastian was caught three kilometres before the top of the climb,” Stephens said. “He was completely shot by then. It was a hard day out front. He wanted to use today as solid training for the Classics, so he continued to ride hard all the way to the line.”

By the time the front group overtook the break, it had been greatly reduced in size.

“We didn’t have anyone in front at that point,” said Stephens. “Our tactic was to put Stuart or Sebastian into the break and then, once the break was established, we wanted to back off and save energy for tomorrow.”

The front group would go on to catch Cunego before Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) took a solo victory in Chieti. The stage saw Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma – QuickStep) cede control of the race lead to Chris Froome (Sky Procycling). 

“It was a job well done by the team today,” said Stephens. “It was good preparation for the Classics as far as I’m concerned.”

“It might not look it on paper, but tomorrow is a hard stage,” Stephens continued. “Once again, we’ll put our heads together to come up with a bit of a tactic and give it another go.”