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29th Clàsica Ciclista San Sebastiàn - Report & Photos
By Vaughn Trevi
Date: 8/1/2009
29th Clàsica Ciclista San Sebastiàn - Report & Photos

29th Clàsica Ciclista San Sebastiàn - Report & Photos
Carlos Barredo and Roman Kreuziger battle to the finish...  Updated

Carlos Barredo chased and caught Roman Kreuziger 2 km before the finish after the Liquigas rider attacked with 3 kilometers to go. The 237 km race came down to a sprint of two riders with Kreuziger leading the way on Donostia Boulevard. With 50 meters to go Barredo made his move to come around Kreuziger and take the win by two bike lengths. Kreuziger tried to respond but his exhausted legs refused.

Mikael Delage of Silence/Lotto led the peloton to the finish at 7 seconds behind the Spanish/Swiss duo.

In a day that started warm and sunny the race soon resembled a Spring day in one of the Northern Classics  as the skies opened to pouring  rain and windy conditions; delivering a  brutal day for the Spanish Classic marked with slippery roads and crashes.

A perfect day for the race under blue skies at the start. Photo © 2009 Fotoreporter Sirotti

Although rain was predicted for later in the day it seemed hard to believe with the blue sky above as the riders started the race riding past the sunbathing vacationers on the local beaches. Local rider, Juan Manuel "Juanma" Garate was greeted by applause when he and his Quick Steppers were presented this morning. Garate's win on the Ventoux stage has raised the rider to the well deserved status of "local hero."

The action got under way after 17 km on the first climb, the Cat. 3 Alto de Oria with  Gorka Izagirre (Contentpolis-AMPO) escaping and later joined by  Héctor González,(Fuji/Servetto). Over the summit Gorka Izagirre led taking the max climbing points with Héctor González second and Francaise des Jeux's  Remy di Gregorio. The three didn't last too long out front with the peloton reeling them in 3 kilometers later on the descent.

Egoi Martinez (Euskaltel) led through the first intermediate sprint at Zarautz with Yukiya Arashiro (Bbox),  and Gert Dockx (Columbia) collecting the remaining points in that order. The peloton climbed the category 2 Alto de Garate together with   Manuel Vázquez (Contentpolis AMPO) taking the max points on the summit, Euskaltel's Gorka Verdugo, Codis's Rein Taaramae and Ag2r's Nicolas Roche collected the remaining points in the San Sebastian climbing competition.

The peloton climbs the Alto de Garate. Photo © 2009 Fotoreporter Sirotti

Into the second hour of the race with 192 km to go a break of 18 formed and quickly built a gap of 3:55. The 18 riders included, Caisse d'Epargne's Garcia Acosta and Mathieu Perget, Liquigas' Gradzd Stangelj, Columbia's Gert Dockx Morris Possoni, Jerome Pineau (Quick Step), Katusha duo Evgeny Petrov and Joan Horrach, Chris Anker Sorensen (Saxo Bank), Paul Martens (Rabobank), Lampre's Marco Marzano, Garmin trio Tim Duggan, Svein Tuft and Danny Pate.
Timothy Duggan, Svein Tuft and Danny Pate (Garmin), Thomas Rohregger (Milram), Christophe Riblon (Ag2r), Jeremy Roy (Francaise des Jeux) and Gorka Izagirre (Contentpolis Ampo).

The group worked well together flying through the second intermediate sprint in Azpeitia. Gorka Izagirre led, Stangelj and Marzano took the points. Evgeny Petrov led over the third KOM at 61 km, the Cat. 2 Alto de Azkarate followed by Chris Sorensen, Svein Tuft and Paul Martens. The gap went over four minutes on a not very concerned peloton with with 170 kilometers still remaining in the days race.

Into the second hour of the race had an average speed of 41.6 km per hour as the fast moving  group blew the gap to 5:30 over the peloton. Few teams were willing to aid Silence/Lotto, Astana and Bbox Bouygues Telecom who missed placing riders in the break.

Saxo Bank's Andy Schleck called it a day, after a crash on the descent of the Garate  and abandoned the race. He wasn't the only one to meet with misfortune on the rain slicked downhill section; Oscar Freire and Rabobank mate Juan Manuele Garate crashed with Garate sustaining a broken wrist; the frustration was visible on Freire's face. Linus Gerdemann also took a tumble into the high grass on the side of the road.

Andy Schleck checks his knee injuries after the crash. He would continue with the race only to abandon further up the road later. Photo © 2009 Fotoreporter Sirotti

The gap began to fall as the combined efforts of the three teams drove the pace taking it to 4:15 as they approached the fourth KOM, Cat. 2 Alto de Udana. Over the summit the gap was further to 3:50. Katusha's Petrov led, Milram's Rohregger and Saxo Bank's Sorensen and Stangelj (Liquigas) over the summit with 133 km to go and headed to the feed zone in Ordizia.

Through the feed zone the gap was slashed to just over three minutes with 100 kilometers to go. Our leaders held the gap steady as Gorka Izagirre led through the third intermediate sprint at 159 km in Andoain - Ama Kandida; Jeremy Roy of Francaise des Jeux second, and Lampre's  Marco Marzano third took the points as the group continued to move up the road toward the main obstacle of today's race, Jaizkibel.

Fans line the road as Alejandro Valverde, and Roman Kreuziger lead on the climb of the  Jaizkibel. Photo © 2009 Fotoreporter Sirotti

With 70 km left, Mother Nature opened the skies first with drizzles as Euskaltel led the peloton in the hunt for the escapees. Wind buffeted the riders as the rain increased in intensity; the break started to lose its unity as orange powered peloton closed in. Attacks ripped at the front, but none prospered, yet the chase led by two Bbox riders at the front proved more successful reducing the gap to 1:30 with 50 kilometers from the finish in Udana.

Danny Pate in good company with garrate, Valverde and Ivanov.
Photo © 2009 Fotoreporter Sirotti

By the start of the climb of the Jaizkibel the gap was less than a minute; Jerome Pineau (Quick Step) was the first to jump ship form the 18 on the climb. Behind, Lampre's Simon Spilak attacked the peloton closing to 4 seconds on Pineau. Garmin's Millar was the next to attack he got a gap but was chased down. Silence/Lotto and Liquigas led the chase as the escapees shattered on the Jaizkibel and the pressure split the peloton behind.

3 kilometers from the summit the remains of the break were fighting for survival on the slopes trying to make the summit before the chase closed in. Marzano holding on led over the summit with 30 seconds with Katusha's Evgeny Petrov following with 38 km to go. On the descent Marzano overcooked a corner and landed upright after crashing into a  muddy embankment. Luckily, he looked unscathed by the incident leaving Petrov as the lone protagonist.

Petrov continued on a solo attack racing through the penultimate flying sprint in Irun with 25.5 km to go leading with 48 seconds. Ag2r's Christophe Riblon second and  Bbox Bouygues' Guillaume Le Floch followed in pursuit taking the points in that order.

Quick Step's Garate attacks on the final climb. Photo © 2009 Fotoreporter Sirotti

The Katusha rider put in a show of power on his solo effort as he started the final climb of the alto Arkale with 23 seconds in hand; Saxo Bank and Lampre led the climb with the group down to a dozen.. Devolder attacked looking to close to Petrov who held on to 8 seconds 2 kilometers from the summit. Liquigas came to the front to close the gap. Petrov was finally caught near the summit; Pierrick Fedrigo responded with an attack to lead over the summit with Barredo on his wheel, Roman Kreuziger at 9 seconds and Luis Leon Sanchez in fourth. The chase with 14 riders followed with last years winner Alejandro Valverde.

Evgeny Petrov on his solo attack.  Photo © 2009 Fotoreporter Sirotti

Kreuziger bombed the soggy descent to join Barredo and Fedrigo on with 15 km to go, Sanchez joined the trio so we had four escapees trying to hold off the chase led by Euskatel and Katusha. Carlos Barredo attacked and went it alone at 13 km to go, Sanchez was the only one able to respond and caught the rider in the next km. The duo had 18 seconds on the 14 and 9 on pursuers Kreuziger, Fedrigo and Marco Pinotti who had bridged to the group. It looked like the effort would be all in vain as the gap fell to 9 seconds with 5 km to go, but the five leaders somehow held on. Behind the peloton had regrouped on the descent and was in full chase mode for the quintet ahead, but it looked too late...

Approaching 3 km to go the catch was almost made when Kreuziger blasted off the front of the trio to bridge to, and then pass Barredo and Sanchez, he looked like he had made the successful move for the victory; but Barredo replied to the action catching the Liquigas rider 2,000 meters from the line.

50 meters to go Garate jumps around Kreuziger as the lead group closes in.
Photo © 2009 Fotoreporter Sirotti

The two held ten seconds as they entered the final kilometer and jockeyed for position. Kreuziger led out for the line and Barredo came around on Roman's right to take the win. Kreuziger was just too tired to respond to Carlos' final sprint to the line. Barredo looked like he enjoyed the win more than the Ventoux stage punched the air and raising his arms above enjoying the victory.

Carlos Barredo Celebrates his win.  Photo © 2009 Fotoreporter Sirotti  

29th Clàsica Ciclista San Sebastiàn Results
237 km - 5:37:00

1 Carlos Barredo (Spain) Quick Step 5:37:00
2 Roman Kreuziger  Liquigas (Czech Rep.)  00:00
3 Mickael Delage (France) Silence/Lotto  00:07

4 Peter Velits (Slovakia) Milram   00:07
5 Ryder Hesjedal  (Canada) Garmin/Slipstream  00:07

6 Filippo Pozzato (Italy) Katusha   00:07
7 Christophe Riblon (France) Ag2r la Mondiale   00:07
8 Serguei Ivanov (Russia) Katuha    00:07
9 Ruben Perez (Spain) Euskaltel/Euskadi
10 Marco Pinotti (Italy) Columbia/HTC   00:07
11 Johan Van Summeren (Belgium) Silence/Lotto   00:07
12  Sebastien Langeveld (Netherlands) Rabobank  00:07
13 Christophe Le Mevel (France) Francaise des Jeux  00:07
14 Dries Devenyns (Belgium) Quick Step   00:07
15  Janez Brajkovic Astana   00:07
16 Alexandr Kolobnev  Saxo Bank  00:07
17 Alejandro Valverde Caisse d'Epargne   00:07

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