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28th Clásica Ciclista San Sebastián - Comments
By Staff
Date: 8/3/2008
28th Clásica Ciclista San Sebastián - Comments

28th Clásica Ciclista San Sebastián - Comments
Caisse d'Epargne, Lampre and CSC comments... Alejandro Valverde on the Olympics.

Caisse d'Epargne's Alejandro Valverde
Clásica of San Sebastián Victor & New ProTour Leader

Alejandro Valverde, who won this afternoon the Clásica of San Sebastián in the sprint ahead of Alexander Kolobnev and Davide Rebellin, and is also the new leader of the UCI ProTour classification, declared:

Alejandro Valverde celebrates at the line, Kolobnev and Bettini.
Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

“This is the victory of an entire team, the Caisse d’Epargne, and I don’t know how I can thank all my team-mates for the job they achieved to give me the possibility to get this first win in the Clásica. The race was a little bit crazy with the break which started after a few kilometers only and with so many riders. Considering the fact that almost all the favorites made it I decided, together with Vladimir Karpets, to chase behind to try to bridge the gap. I feared that all those efforts could be fatal to me in the final part of the race but fortunately this was not the case and I had strength left for launching and winning the sprint. I finished the Tour de France very motivated, I proved it today, physically as well as mentally I am feeling very well one week before the next appointments which are the Olympic Games. If we are lucky in Beijing I think that we will do great things over there too.”

Alejandro Valverde on the Olympics
This evening, just after the finish of the Clásica of San Sebastián, Alejandro Valverde will travel by car to Madrid together with the other riders making part of the Spanish selection for the Olympic Games. On Sunday at 12:30 PM, the Spanish team will board flight  from Madrid to Beijing via Paris.

Before starting this long travel to China, the rider of the team Caisse d’Epargne answered a few questions. This interview was done previous to the start of the Clasica San Sebastian:

At the beginning of the season, you were delighted to take part in the Olympic Games. How do you feel physically and in which state of mind are you after finishing the Tour de France?

“After the Tour, it is normal to be tired but the prospect to take part in the Olympic Games a dream for me and that gives me the courage I need to approach this event. It is true that this race is a lottery, but I will take the start very motivated and very grateful to be selected.”

What does it mean in the life of a sportsman the fact of representing his country in the most prestigious sports event of the world?

“It is obvious that it represents many things. It is at the same time an honor and a pride to make part of the 5 selected Spanish riders who will represent Spain in the road event. I will do my best to defend the colors of my country and try to get a medal.”

4 of the 'Spanish Armada' for the Olympics meet before the start of San Sebastian. Sastre, Sanchez, Contador and Valverde. Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

The Spanish selection will be present with five very strong riders: Valverde, Contador, Freire, Sánchez and Sastre. Is it the strongest team ?

“I believe indeed that it is one of the most dangerous ones. Everybody knows what Alberto already won this year and what he is able to do in every kind of race. Carlos just won the Tour and Oscar and Samuel also achieved a great Tour. I believe that the five of us can contend to win a medal.”

Who will be your most dangerous adversaries?

“Personally, I fear especially Stefan Schumacher if one considers the great condition he showed during the entire Tour. Paolo Bettini, the outgoing Olympic Champion, must also be taken into account. And there surely will be many other riders who prepared this special event very well.”

Did you have the opportunity to see the course? What do you think about it?

“This course suits my characteristics very well, with a first part which consists of 80 kilometers all flat and then seven laps on a very hard circuit with twelve kilometers uphill followed by twelve kilometers downhill. I believe that after the Tour de France, I will moreover have the necessary resistance for such a difficult race.”

In addition to the course, which other factors could play a major role?

“Humidity, pollution and the hot weather, which could cause dehydration, could strongly influence the course of the race. I believe that we will witness very difficult Olympic Games.”

What would it mean to you to come back in Spain with a gold medal?

“A dream that would come true! This one is certainly my best season and to crown it with an Olympic title would allow me to consider my next objectives with more tranquility.”

Team CSC Saxo Bank
Second Place for Kolobnev in Spanish Classic
Team CSC Saxo Bank got a great result in Spain's biggest one-day race, Clasica San Sebastian. Alexandre Kolobnev took the second place behind Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne), who sprinted his way to the victory ahead of Team CSC Saxo Bank's Russian and Italian Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner).

Alexandre Kolobonev attacks on the Jaizkibel.  Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

Kolobnev opened up the sprint himself during the often decisive climb at Jaizkibel, but in spite of various attempts in the finale a group of about 10 riders were left to sprint for the victory after the 239 kilometers with start and finish in the Basque coastal city.

”It was a great result by Alexandre today because it was a tough finale with all those strong profiles getting ready for the Olympics. He's extremely good at these tough finales and he came very close to winning out there today. Already in Austria he demonstrated that he's ready for this part of the season and I think we'll get to see a lot more of him over the coming months,” said sports director Torsten Schmidt after the race.


Damiano Cunego Tests His Condition - Out of Olympics

Clasica San Sebastian was an important test in order to check Cunego's conditions in the first race after the crash in Tour de France.

Damiano Cunego stayed with the escape until the Jaizkibel.
Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

The after-effects of the French accident were still strong in the Spanish race too: Cunego raced in the lead group, but he could not follow the main riders on Jaizkibel, reaching the arrival in 36th position at 9'34" from winner Valverde.

Cunego explained his condition and the situation related to the Olympic Games, "The effects of the bad crash of Tour didn't go away. During the race I had bad feelings when the street became tough: when the effort was deep, I felt the symptoms I had already felt during my recent training, those are respiratory problems and headache".

After the race, Cunego talked to Franco Ballerini, Team Italy's coach: the decision was that Cunego won't take part in the Olympic race. Damiano contacted Lampre's medical rsponsible, doctor Guardascione, in order to program deeper medical checks to try to solve the health problems in view of the last part of the season.
Bruseghin was the best Lampre's rider, finishing the 17th place at 1'33".

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