Sebastian Langeveld's 10th place at the Tour of Flanders was bittersweet. It was an improvement for the Orica GreenEdge Classics specialist with regards that unlike last year, he finished the race. In a dramatic crash, Langeveld hit an onlooker when riding on the bike path next to the road, colliding at full-speed. However, given his solid form in the lead-up to the second Monument of the 2013 season, there was no doubt that he had hoped for more.
"Top-10 isn't too bad," Langeveld told Cyclingnews. "I think condition-wise and form-wise I deserved a better result. Top-10 is better than nothing."
Heading into Flanders last year, Langeveld had the form but not the confidence to go with it. That all changed, though, given his recent performances where he'd finished in 23rd at Milan-San Remo and then fifth place at E3 Harelbeke after having ridden in the front group of riders that were off the back of the efforts of eventual winner Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack Leopard).
Orica GreenEdge knew that to have any chance, they would need numbers in the three-lap finishing circuit and to some extent they succeeded, with Baden Cooke and Fumiyuki Beppu sticking with Langeveld until late in the proceedings.
"Jens Keukeleire had a flat tire in a really bad moment, just before the first time up the Kwaremont I think, but in the end that doesn't make a big difference to the result," the 28-year-old Dutchman said. "I'm really happy with the performance of the team; they helped me where they could...Everybody played their role and did their job. Jens Mouris helped me in the beginning. Mitch Docker was really aggressive in the start watching the big attacks."
While there had been speculation that given this would be the second year that the Tour of Flanders would be raced with the finishing circuits that teams would approach them differently and not wait for the final lap to make the defining move, it didn't eventuate with Lotto Belisol only really taking the peloton to task. According to Langeveld, it would have taken more than just the Belgian team to have an impact.
"But you also need other teams - BMC, Sky - in a big strong group and maybe they could make the race a little bit harder in the end," he said. "The strongest guy won today. There's no doubt about that."
Still, Langeveld took his chances, and when Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack Leopard) made his move the last time up the Oude Kwaremont, he quickly found the wheel of Sylvain Chavanel with the Omega Pharma-QuickStep team having a number of options if that race came back together.
"Cancellara went, Sagan followed and Chavanel and me weren't able to follow," Langeveld said. "That was the end of the story."
Langeveld's conviction surrounding his form remains intact and he will now focus on Paris-Roubaix, after a few days to re-group.
"I can go to Roubaix in good shape and with confidence," he said. "I had some strong teammates today so I'm looking forward to it. That's how you need to take this race. You raced it, did it, got a good result at the end - maybe you could have finished a little bit better - but you close the book and look forward.
"Roubaix is actually a race which suits me really well. I've had a couple of good races there and also one year I had some bad luck, I was in the final breakaway and I crashed. With this condition, I'm looking forward to it and we'll see what happens."