Former Dutch national champion Sebastian Langeveld secured the last podium spot at Paris-Roubaix in one of the best results of his career on Sunday.
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For the 32-year-old Cannondale-Drapac rider, it’s the first time he’s ever been on a Monument podium as well. He finished just behind the winner, Olympic road race champion Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) and Zdenek Stybar (Quick-Step).
With Sep Vanmarcke’s third place at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Dylan van Baarle’s fourth at Tour of Flanders, Langeveld’s result in Roubaix finished off a remarkably strong Classics season for the American-registered team.
Despite both Vanmarcke and Taylor Phinney being sidelined with injuries sustained at Tour of Flanders, Cannondale-Drapac was aggressive throughout Sunday’s race.
“Most teams that lose their leaders are going to show up with their tails between their legs and wouldn’t make a fight out of it. These guys didn’t let it drag them down,” director sportif Jonathan Vaughters said.
Will Clarke and Paddy Bevin were early instigators and with the race heading into the famed Arenberg Forest, the team departed the five-star cobbled sector with four riders in a select group of only 40 in what was the fastest Paris-Roubaix in the 115-year history of the race.
“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 kilometers to race. For sure I was also tired, but I knew I had good legs,” Langeveld said after the sprint in the velodrome.
At 257-kilometers, Paris-Roubaix is commonly known as a race of attrition where only the strong survive. Despite being tired, Langeveld was able to force a selection on the Carrefour de l’Arbre that only Stybar and Van Avermaet could respond to.
The three riders worked well together over the final 17 kilometres, with only Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) and Gianni Moscon (Team Sky) able to catch them once in the Roubaix velodrome.
Langveld couldn’t be happier with his result against two of the sports best and on one of the biggest stages. He said after the race that he had “goosebumps everywhere” once they arrived at the velodrome, knowing the win was on the line.
“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.”