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Sebastian Langeveld beats Juan Antonio Flecha at Het Nieuwsblad

It was close and either man would have been a deserving winner.

Dutchman Sebastian Langeveld (Rabobank) won the 66th edition of the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (formerly Het Volk) as he outsprinted defending champion Juan Antonio Flecha (Sky) in a tightly contested photo-finish.

Flecha’s teammate, Australian Matthew Hayman rounded out the podium, leading the chase group in about a minute after the two leaders crossed the line.

“This race has been a big goal of mine,” said the 26 year old Langeveld, who attacked out of the field 54km from the line.

“I took the risk because of the wind,” he said. “It was a strong tailwind and I thought I would attack to break things up, but I did expect that a chase group would eventually pull me back. I was really surprised to see that at 25km to go, it was only Flecha who was closing in on me.”

Langeveld’s attack surprised many of the pre-race favorites, including Quick Step’s Tom Boonen, Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma) and Thor Hushovd (Garmin-Cervelo), whose efforts to reel in the break came too late and appeared to be somewhat disorganized on rain-soaked roads.

Boonen said that he was surprised that Langeveld survived to win the day, but added that his own objectives for 2011 “are a bit later in the season. I’m satisfied with the effort today.”

Preliminary Results

  • 1. Sebastian Langeveld (NED), Rabobank, 5:18:21
  • 2. Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (ESP), Sky, at 0
  • 3. Mathew Hayman (AUS), Sky, at 1:00
  • 4. Yoann Offredo (FRA), Française des Jeux, at 1:03
  • 5. Luca Paolini (ITA), Katusha, at 1:19
  • 6. Niki Terpstra (NED), Quick Step, at 1:22
  • 7. Martijn Maaskant (NED), Garmin-Cervelo, at 1:30
  • 8. Manuel Quinziato (ITA), BMC, at 1:30
  • 9. Jurgen Roelandts (BEL), Omega Pharma-Lotto, at 1:44
  • 10. Lars BOOM (NED), Rabobank, at 1:44
  • 11. Frédéric Amorison (BEL), Landbouwkrediet-Colnago, at 1:44
  • 12. John Degenkolb (GER), HTC-Highroad, at 1:44

Full Results
Check back for more photos and a complete race report.

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