Sebastian Langeveld (Cannondale-Drapac) took the final podium spot of Paris-Roubaix from a five-up sprint on Sunday and it marked the first time the 32-year-old Dutch rider has appeared on the podium at one of cycling’s five Monuments. Olympic road champion Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) bested Zdenek Stybar (Quick-Step) to win the Queen of the Classics.
Langeveld’s result closes out a consistent cobbled classics campaign for Cannondale-Drapac. The American-registered squad saw Sep Vanmarcke finish third at Omloop het Nieuwsblad. Dylan van Baarle narrowly missed the podium at Ronde van Vlaanderen where he finished in fourth place. He also posted top ten finishes at Dwars door Vlaanderen and E3 Harelbeke.
Cannondale-Drapac had a good overall team performance during Sunday’s race. Will Clarke and Paddy Bevin were among the first attackers and Wouter Wippert, Ryan Mullen and Tom Scully also attempted to get up the road.
When the race hit Troisville, the first of the 29 cobble sectors, Cannondale-Drapac had five riders tightly packed together in the first third of the field. Heading into the Arenberg Forest, Cannondale-Drapac exited the five-star sector with four riders in the group of around 40.
The 257-kilometre race that snakes down from Compiègne to Roubaix is rightly known as a race of attrition. As the shrinking peloton tackled sector after sector, Langeveld and Van Baarle emerged as contenders. Both riders not only covered moves but initiated moves of their own.
Fourteen riders exited Mons-en-Pévèle together around 30-seconds behind Daniel Oss (BMC). Along with the usual suspects in Tom Boonen (Quick-Step Floors), Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Van Avermaet, Langeveld and Van Baarle had made the selection.
Langeveld forced the selection on Carrefour de l’Arbe. Only Van Avermaet and Stybar could respond. The trio headed toward the velodrome with 42-seconds on their nearest chasers, two of whom would catch them in the last lap.
Langeveld said he had “goosebumps everywhere” as he entered the Roubaix Velodrome with the win in play. In post-race interviews, he described feeling “very, very happy” with the result.
Sebastian Langeveld: “The race was full-on the whole day. There was not a moment that the peloton stopped, so it was a really fast edition of Paris-Roubaix. There were a lot of tired riders already with 50, 60 kilometres to race. For sure I was also tired, but I knew I had good legs.”
“I had one bad moment in the race, I don’t know what sector, where I had a flat tyre. I was almost out of the race, but I came back and I saw a lot of tired people. That’s when I believed and from there it was race on. I attacked to get into the breakaway. I got a couple good people with me. I attacked again on Carrefour. It was man-against-man there.”
“It’s a special sprint. I’m not a track rider. A couple years ago, I came into the velodrome for second place, and it was special then. Now too. Greg Van Avermaet is the Olympic champion and a really fast guy. Stybar is always really, really good and he was sitting on for a couple kilometres. Third place was my spot today, and I’m very, very happy.”
“Don’t forget that I’ve never won a monument. I won Het Nieuwsblad, but…. I was seventh, eighth in Roubaix. A podium for me is a really high, really top result.”
“The last two years, I was never 100 percent for the Classics, and in the Tour de France, I had to abandon the last two years with illness. At some point, it is enough. This year, I was riding on a really, really high level, and it didn’t come through in the results until today. I’m very, very happy and very, very proud.”