30th Clásica Ciclista San Sebastián - Report & Photos
An Epic day of racing in Spain's premiere one day race, the 'Clásica'
riders took the start on a perfect bright summers day, perfect for a bike
battle. Fans enjoyed the sun as they lined the climb of
Alto de Jaizkibel in anticipation of seeing the battle up close twice this year.
The peloton was in no hurry in the early stages of the 234
kilometer race, arriving at the first climb category climb of the
Alto de Orio after 19 km. Andalucia rider Antonio Piedra took the max climbing
points followed by HTC's Gert Dockx and Arther Vichot of Française Des Jeux.
8 miles later, after 27 km of racing 2006
winner Xavier Florencio (Cervelo TestTeam) opened a gap and was joined by
Francaise des Jeux's Pierre Cazaux and Argentine, Jorge Martin
Montenegro (Andalusia CajaSur). The trio quickly opened a gap of a minute on the
Passing over the summit of the second climb of the day the Cat
alto de Gárate. The three optimists had over two minutes as The
Frenchman, Pierre Cazaux led, followed by Montenegro and Florencio. The final
points were snatched by Andalucia Antonio Cabello as the peloton followed.
The gap soon took a rocket ride as the indifferent
peloton settled in for the long haul to of 105 km before the final climbs and
attacks would be made in the second half of the race.
By the 35 km marker the gap was 3 minutes. - and at
50 km as the break flew through the hot sprint in Azpeitia the lads has 6
minutes on the Euskaltel led bunch. The Argentine, Montenegro
succeeded in his sprint for the points leading Florencio and Cazaux; by
the 62 km marker the gap of the three Amigos gap ballooned to 8 minutes... still not
provoking a response from the rolling bunch.
Euskaltel picked up the pace and by 74 km hauled back
a half a minute and the gap stabilized at around 8 minutes. A fast first 2
hours of racing covered 84. 5 kilometers. The leaders were only 40 km from
the first dance up the Jaizkibel as the gap grew again climbing to 8 minutes - Euskaltel
responded by putting
Pablo Urtasun on the front who did a remarkable job of hauling the peloton
closer to the escapees.
Through the hot sprint in de Andoain at the halfway point of the race (116 km)
Andalucia - Cajasur's Jorge Montenegro once again won the
sprint followed by Pierre Cazaux (Française Des Jeux) and Xavier Florencio (Cervélo
Test Team) with 7:50 the gap.
Behind Andy Schleck crashed and abandoned the race, repeating the bad luck he had last year
during a wet and windy day.
On the short
end of the race with 114 km to go the gap was reduced to six minutes as
Euskaltel turned up the ratchet and got some help on the chase.. on the approach
to the first climb of the Jaizkibel after 140 km, the gap had fallen to 3:15
over a peloton that was already losing riders due to the intensity of the chase.
continued to work well together, but Pierre Cazaux couldn't follow the pace of
his companions and was dropped. Over the summit of the of the 'Jaiz' - Cervélo'sFlorencio led
taking the ten points on offer with Montenegro on his wheel... Behind all hell
had broken loose. The Jaizkibel had come and the attacks followed.
Footon/Servetto's Pedro Merino attacked on the first two
kilometers of the col to open a maximum gap of 50 seconds over the peloton,
closing to less than three minutes behind the leaders, spurring on the chase to
close to the escapees.
Sammy Sanchez (Euskaltel) attacks on the Jaizkibel.
Photo © 2010 Fotoreporter
Caisse d'Epargne's Jose Ivan Gutierrez attacked and got a gap and was joined
by Manuel Garate (Rabobank), the duo were joined by Gorka Verdugo
(Euskaltel) over the summit the attackers quickly opened a 30 second gap on their chasers
with 77 km to go. Omega Pharma's Mickael Delage led the chase on the summit, took
the final points on offer.
continued to collect the sprint points leading Florencio through the Irun hot sprint with 65 km to go.
The duo still led
with 40 seconds as they approached the climb of the Arkale. Rabobank's
Garate led the chase sweeping through to take the final points in Irun.
Garate and Gutierrez closed in the duo as they started the climb but soon paid
the price as their chasers caught them mid climb with the diminished peloton
sweeping them up. Garate hit the summit first followed by Verdugo and Gutierrez
with Stefan Denifl of Cervélo squad leading the chase on the summit a minute
Vincenzo Nibali and Damiano Cunego with a chase group on the Jaizkibel.
Photo © 2010 Fotoreporter
The trio had less than a minute lead as they flew through the hot sprint in
Oiartzun with 50
km to go... Garate led Gutierrez and Verdugo for the points as Katusha and
Astana pressed the front of the chase forward. The trio's goose was cooked as
they approached the second and final climb of the
With 44 km to go Katusha's Alexandr Kolobnev
put the remains of the peloton in a single file chain of pain as team mate
Alexandr Vinokourov moved to the front with other classics strongmen, 'Purito' Rodríguez,
Luis León Sanchez, Samuel Sánchez; what was left of the peloton was being
on the climb behind.
With 42 km to go Samu Sánchez attacked with Vinokourov, Nicolas Roche and Rodríguez
on Vino's wheel. Sanchez relented and the peloton regrouped.... momentarily.
The attacks resumed again at 2 km to the summit. A kilometer from the top
Caisse d'Epargne's Luis León Sánchez attacked opening a gap of a 15 meters;
Carlos Sastre (Cervélo TestTeam) and Alexander Vinokourov jumped and fought to
gain the riders wheel nearing the the summit the three riders had a 26
second gap and attacked the descent.
Behind the what was left
of the peloton shattered into chasing groups.
The order over the summit of the final climb of the Jaizkibel with 26 km to
go, Luis León Sanchez, Carlos Sastre, Alexander Vinokourov led by 40 seconds gap over
Nicolas Roche (Ag2r), the Giro's best young rider, Richie Porte (Saxo Bank) and
Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha). taking the remaining points.
Vino, leads Sanchez and Sastre. Photo © 2010 Fotoreporter
The three strong riders soon settled into a rhythm knowing that working
together was the only way they would succeed. They flew through the penultimate hot sprint in Irun with 25 km to go - Vino taking a
long pull followed by Sanchez and Sastre. Behind a group of 7 had formed and
were in a concentrated effort to close the gap.
Katusha's Joaquím Rodriguez leads Robert Gesink and the chase group in pursuit of the
Photo © 2010 Fotoreporter
The 7: Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin/Transitions), Samuel Sanchez (Euskatel/Euskadi), Joaquím
Rodriguez (Katusha), Nicolas Roche (Ag2r La Mondiale), Robert Gesink (Rabobank),
Richie Porte (Saxobank) and Haimar Zubeldia (RadioShack).
Over the summit of the final climb of the Alto de Arkale with 15 km remaining Vino led Sanchez and Sastre with the gap at
25 seconds on the 7 led by Rabo's Robert Gesink. While the trio up front
practiced their team time trialing on the front the chase group did as well with
Sammy Sanchez, Porte, Hesjedal, Zubeldia et al taking their pulls on the
front... try as they might they could only close a few seconds on the three.
With 7 km to go the gap fell to 21 seconds, and by 5 km to go 20. Vinokourov sensing the
urgency of the moment attacked his break mates at 3.5 km to go opening a gap on
Sanchez and Sastre. Sanchez fought back to Vino, but Sastre couldn't respond to
the ferocity of the attack and settled into clawing the two back as the gap to
the chasers went up to 26 seconds.
Vino and Sanchez made an uneasy peace pushing the gap to 30 seconds as the went under the
3 km to go kite; with two km to go the duo had 31 seconds as Sastre continued to
fight to return. Surprisingly Carlos joined the two shortly after going under
the 1 km to go banner where the gap was 33 seconds to the first chase group of
Sanchez pipps Vinokourov and Sastre...
Photo © 2010 Fotoreporter
With 500 meters to go, Vino led with Sanchez on his wheel... Vinokourov accelerated as
two sprinted. Sanchez made his mo e 50 meters out pulling around Vinokourov and
passing at about 10 meters from the line to win. Sastre followed on the two
riders wheels looking to exhausted to contest the sprint.
victory for L.L. 'Cool' Sanchez, but a bitter disappointment for Alexander
Vinokourov having come so close to an important victory; nonetheless, a stellar performance by
all three riders in the break defying the odds to finish ahead of their rivals
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