Sebastian Langeveld is one of Rabobank's three captains for the Tour of Flanders on Sunday, and he likes his chances in the race. “I am not one of the big-time favourites, but I can win it,” he said.
The 25-year-old shares the team captaincy with Nick Nuyens and Lars Boom. Nuyens crashed three times last week in the E3 Prijs, causing him to miss Gent-Wevelgem, and was confirmed for Flanders only on Wednesday. Boom is riding the race for the first time. “It's wait and see how he handles the 260 km,” admitted directeur sportif Erik Dekker.
Dekker is more positive about Langeveld. “My impression of Sebastian is good,” he told the Dutch news agency ANP. “There is a clear upward trend in his riding.”
In the 2008 Tour of Flanders, Langeveld made his name with an unsuccessful chase of eventual winner Stijn Devolder. He was unable to follow up on that last year. Not only did his top form peak too early, he was caught behind a crash in the finale. “Otherwise a good placing would have been possible,” Langeveld said.
However, his preparations this year have not gone according to plan, as knee problems caused him to skip the Mallorca Challenge. “I have often had problems with my knees, but there was always an identifiable cause. This time I didn't know why. It could be from my strength training. Maybe new material, different shoes, for example.”
Langeveld was worried how the season might go, but by Dwars door Vlaanderen, he knew he was "progressing well” and continued to finish sixth overall in the E3 Prijs.
“At this point I don't rate myself any higher than Nick and Lars,” he said. “It is important that we be honest with each other in the race. And the team management makes adjustments where necessary.
I can win, but the race has to go to my advantage. And all the puzzle pieces have to fit together