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Langeveld wins Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

Brecht Decaluwé

Dutchman edges defending champion Flecha in Ghent

Sebastian Langeveld (Rabobank) edged out last year's winner Juan Antonio Flecha (Team Sky) in a close sprint to win Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.

Langeveld threw his bike at the line and won a few centimetres to take the biggest win of his career. He collected the kisses and the praise on the podium, with Matt Hayman joining his teammate Flecha on the podium after taking third place ahead of Yoann Offredo (FDJ).

“I worked very hard for the victory and I'm going to take my time to enjoy it,” Langeveld said.

The Dutchman rode aggressively in the rain-soaked race, launching a solo attack in the middle of the key hilly section of the race with more than 50km left to race.

He quickly gained a gap of half a minute on a chase group while all the big-name favourites were riding in the remains of the peloton just under a minute down. On the Leberg climb, Flecha launched a counter-attack together with Niki Terpstra (Quick-Step) out of the peloton.

“On the Leberg it was time to gamble and I had the legs to go there,” Flecha said.

The Spaniard first caught up with the group of chasers and then he left them on the cobbles of the Paddestraat when there were less than 30km to race. At that moment the gap between Flecha and Langeveld was more than a minute. Langeveld and Flecha fought out an intense pursuit but the Spaniard closed the gap second by second on his former Rabobank teammate.

With 15km to go, Flecha joined up with Langeveld and the two were set for a two-man sprint.

“I didn't wait for Flecha but when he came back I saw that he didn't have much left in his tank. I knew that he would try to attack. If I could neutralize that attack I would be mentally at an advantage,” Langeveld said.

The final kilometres unfolded as Langeveld predicted but in the sprint Flecha surprisingly turned out to be much faster than expected. “Normally Langeveld is faster but after such a race it's different. I wasn't as sure as he was that he’d won but in the end he was ten centimetres faster today,” Flecha conceded.

In the first chase group there were several attacks in the final kilometres and a minute after the close sprint, it was Hayman who showed up first at the St-Peter's square in Ghent, just ahead of the surprising young French rider Yoann Offredo (FDJ). The other chasers were just behind, with the main peloton at five minutes and another cold and wet group at almost ten minutes.

All the action

The first half of the race was marked by a breakaway by Sébastien Delfosse (Landbouwkrediet-KDL), Steven Van Vooren (Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator), Bram Schmitz and Steven Caethoven (Veranda's Willems-Accent), Aleksejs Saramotins (Cofidis), Mathieu Ladagnous (FDJ), Ronan van Zandbeek (Skil-Shimano) and Sébastien Chavanel (Europcar). The group build up a lead of almost eight minutes. However the foul weather made it a hard race and by the time the race started in earnest front many riders were already at their limit.

On the cobbles of Donderij, with 65km to go, the race started in the peloton when the riders from Sky and then Tom Boonen (Quick-Step) upping the speed. When arriving at the Taaienberg – also known as Boonenberg – the peloton was stretched out. Boonen led the peloton over the cobbled climb in the asphalted gutter, with world champion Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervélo) just behind him. In between the Taaienberg and the Eikenberg climbs, the pace remained high thanks to the efforts of Offredo and Hushovd.

The early breakaway was quickly caught and Langeveld used the Eikenberg to go clear. Behind him the favourites were playing a waiting game. A group including John Degenkolb (HTC-Highroad), Hayman, Manuel Quinziato (BMC), Martijn Maaskant (Garmin-Cervélo) went away after him. Little later another group left the main peloton featuring Fréderic Amorison (Landbouwkrediet-KDL), Jurgen Roelandts (Omega Pharma-Lotto), Lars Boom (Rabobank) and Luca Paolini (Katusha).

When Niki Terpstra (Quick-Step) set a high pace on the Leberg he ended up riding away with Flecha. The chase groups came together behind sole leader Langeveld, who still had a lead of more than a minute. Flecha put the hammer down on the cobbles of the Paddestraat and set off in pursuit, and from there the great finale with Langeveld unfolded.

Flecha seemed the favourite to win Omloop Het Nieuwsblad for a second year but the young Dutchman had no plans to give up as he showed with his perfect sprint.


Full Results
1 Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 5:18:03  
2 Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spa) Sky Procycling    
3 Mathew Hayman (Aus) Sky Procycling 0:01:01  
4 Yoann Offredo (Fra) FDJ 0:01:04  
5 Luca Paolini (Ita) Katusha Team 0:01:21  
6 Niki Terpstra (Ned) Quickstep Cycling Team 0:01:24  
7 Martijn Maaskant (Ned) Team Garmin-Cervelo 0:01:30  
8 Manuel Quinziato (Ita) BMC Racing Team    
9 Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto    
10 Lars Boom (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team    
11 Frédéric Amorison (Bel) Landbouwkrediet 0:01:34  
12 John Degenkolb (Ger) HTC-Highroad 0:01:39  
13 Wouter Weylandt (Bel) Leopard Trek 0:05:05  
14 Sébastien Hinault (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale    
15 Nikolay Trusov (Rus) Katusha Team    
16 Dominique Rollin (Can) FDJ    
17 Maarten Wynants (Bel) Rabobank Cycling Team    
18 Russell Downing (GBr) Sky Procycling    
19 Koen Barbe (Bel) Landbouwkrediet    
20 Björn Leukemans (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team    
21 Maxime Vantomme (Bel) Katusha Team    
22 Michael Schär (Swi) BMC Racing Team    
23 Aleksejs Saramotins (Lat) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne    
24 Marco Marcato (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team    
25 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Quickstep Cycling Team    
26 Tom Stamsnijder (Ned) Leopard Trek    
27 Ian Stannard (GBr) Sky Procycling    
28 Leif Hoste (Bel) Katusha Team    
29 Kevin Van Impe (Bel) Quickstep Cycling Team    
30 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team    
31 Sébastien Turgot (Fra) Team Europcar    
32 Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team    
33 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Team Garmin-Cervelo    
34 Andreas Klier (Ger) Team Garmin-Cervelo    
35 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quickstep Cycling Team    
36 Nikolas Maes (Bel) Quickstep Cycling Team    
37 Hayden Roulston (NZl) HTC-Highroad    
38 Jan Ghyselinck (Bel) HTC-Highroad    
39 Gianni Meersman (Bel) FDJ    
40 Sébastien Minard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale    
41 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Procycling    
42 Marcus Burghardt (Ger) BMC Racing Team    
43 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto    
44 Dries Devenyns (Bel) Quickstep Cycling Team    
45 Staf Scheirlinckx (Bel) Veranda's Willems - Accent 0:09:22  
46 Lars Ytting Bak (Den) HTC-Highroad 0:10:41  
47 Kristof Goddaert (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale    
48 Pieter Jacobs (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator    
49 Bert De Backer (Bel) Skil - Shimano    
50 Alex Rasmussen (Den) HTC-Highroad    
51 Jean-Luc Delpech (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller    
52 Arnaud Labbe (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne    
53 Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne    
54 Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Omega Pharma-Lotto    
55 Jelle Wallays (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator    
56 Bram Schmitz (Ned) Veranda's Willems - Accent    
57 Roy Curvers (Ned) Skil - Shimano    
58 Koen De Kort (Ned) Skil - Shimano    
59 Wim De Vocht (Bel) Veranda's Willems - Accent    
60 Michael Barry (Can) Sky Procycling    
61 Stijn Devolder (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team    
62 Anthony Geslin (Fra) FDJ    
63 Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) FDJ    
64 Johan Coenen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator    
65 Karsten Kroon (Ned) BMC Racing Team    
66 Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale    
67 Serguei Ivanov (Rus) Katusha Team    
68 Jos Van Emden (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team    
69 Dominic Klemme (Ger) Leopard Trek    
70 Vincent Jerome (Fra) Team Europcar    
71 Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team    
72 Alexandre Pichot (Fra) Team Europcar    
73 Rick Flens (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team    
74 Roger Hammond (GBr) Team Garmin-Cervelo    
75 Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Saur - Sojasun    
76 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar    
77 Geert Steurs (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator 0:14:29  
78 Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team    
79 Dieter Cappelle (Bel) Veranda's Willems - Accent    
80 Vicente Reynes Mimo (Spa) Omega Pharma-Lotto    
81 William Clarke (Aus) Leopard Trek    
82 Vladimir Isaichev (Rus) Katusha Team    
83 Dominique Cornu (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator    
84 Alessandro Donati (Ita) Acqua & Sapone    
85 David Millar (GBr) Team Garmin-Cervelo    
86 Bobbie Traksel (Ned) Landbouwkrediet    
87 Geert Verheyen (Bel) Landbouwkrediet    
88 Johan Le Bon (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller    
89 Dimitri Claeys (Bel) Team Netapp    
90 Timon Seubert (Ger) Team Netapp    
91 Anthony Delaplace (Fra) Saur - Sojasun    
92 James Vanlandschoot (Bel) Veranda's Willems - Accent    
93 Arnoud Van Groen (Ned) Veranda's Willems - Accent    
94 Damien Gaudin (Fra) Team Europcar    
95 Bernhard Eisel (Aut) HTC-Highroad    
96 Gabriel Rasch (Nor) Team Garmin-Cervelo    
97 Tristan Valentin (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne