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"I’m pretty satisfied with his race and result. We started the race with a podium place in our heads, and we have to admit that we didn’t reach our goal, but with the improvements we’ve seen from last year to this yea...

Photo_ GreenEDGE






08.04.2013 @ 11:56 Posted by Jesper Johannesen

After an almost invisible performance in last year's Paris-Roubaix, the Australian Orica-GreenEdge was right in the mix in their second attempt in the race yesterday. Even though Sebastian Langeveld's 7th place did not fully live up to the expectations, the team was happy to see a drastic improvement from last year's performance.


Orica-GreenEdge had a terrible first season in the cobbled classics last year. The team's captain Sebastian Langeveld had a dramatic crash in the Tour of Flanders, and without their leader the team was unable to make its presence felt in the biggest cobbled races.


This year has been much better with Langeveld 5th in the E3 and 10th in the Tour of Flanders capped off with a 7th place in yesterday's race. With Langeveld maybe the strongest behind Fabian Cancellara and Peter Sagan last Sunday in Flanders, the team had targeted the podium and even though that objective failed, there was a source for optimism in the Australian camp.


“There’s no secret formula,” sports director Laurenzo Lapage said. “A lot of work goes behind being competitive at this level. The riders who want to be good in these races know they have to do the work, and Sebastian did the work. I’m pretty satisfied with his race and result. We started the race with a podium place in our heads, and we have to admit that we didn’t reach our goal, but with the improvements we’ve seen from last year to this year, we can hope for even more next year.”


Missed the early move

The team had been on its back foot early in the race. In a race like Roubaix, team riders in the early break of crucial importance since they may be able to assist their team leaders when they bridge up later in the race. However, when a strong 12-man group went away early in the race, the Australian team had missed the move.


The team had to work hard to bring back the escape.


“One of the most important things today was not to miss the early break, and we did,” Lapage explained. “The early move did not stay, but we missed it. I wasn’t happy with that and because we used three riders too early, we didn’t have the numbers where we needed them later on in the race.”


O'Grady in 4-man break

When the early breakaway finally went away, the team was where it needed to be. 2007 winner Stuart O'Grady was part of the move and once again a main protagonist on the French cobbles.


“I must say that Stuey’s move saved the team,” Lapage said. “It allowed Jens (Mouris, ed.) and Sebastian to relax a bit in the peloton. It shows that Stuey is so important for our team in this kind of race.”


The early break was caught with around 50km remaining, and moments later Juan Antonio Flecha (Vacansoleil) forced the crucial 13-man split on the Mons-en-Pevele sector, and Langeveld was right in the mix. Once clear of their chasers, Langeveld, Sep Vanmarcke (Blanco) and Stijn Vandenbergh (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) started attacking the big favourite Fabian Cancellara (Radioshack), and together with Damien Gaudin (Europcar), the trio was able to move clear.


“It was great to see an aggressive Langeveld,” Lapage said. “He did good moves at the right moment. He looked strong today.”


Satisfactory cobbled season

Riders managed to join from behind and when Cancellara later put down the hammer to close the gap to a move by Vanmarcke and Vandenbergh, Langeveld did not have the power to stay in the Swiss' wheels. He ended up 7th in the velodrome to close out a satisfactory cobbled season for the Australian team.


“In many ways, we are happy with the results we have had in the cobbled races,” Lapage said. “Overall, the results over the past few weeks with the same riders are much better than last year. We know there is still much room for improvement. The talent is there, and with hard work, better results will follow.”


The team now turns its attention to the Ardennes classics in which Michael Albasini and Simon Gerrans will take over the leadership role from Langeveld.



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