Good afternoon and welcome to our coverage of the Clasica San Sebastian. It's a hot day in Spain and it seems that summer has finally arrived.
The Clasica San Sebastian is the only Spanish Race in the World Cup Series. After last weekend's race through the City of Hamburg, San Sebastian is all about hills, panoramic views and the Jaizkibel.
Raced over 227 kilometres, the riders face a succession of climbs, starting with the third cat Alto de Oria after 19 kilometres. At 29 kilometres, the second cat Alto de Garate; the riders then head through the climb and tunnel of the Alto de Azkarate after 59 kilometres, and then tackle the Alto de Udana after 100 kilometres.
They then follow 100 kilometres of rolling countryside with glimpses of the ocean in the distance, before the riders tackle the key point of the race, the Alto de Jaizkibel (after 195 kilometres), which is usually the deciding climb.
Please refresh this page (F5) to view the latest information. Our commentary today by Anita van Crey, Jan Janssens and podofdonny.
The leading group of riders, who have around 3 minutes on the peloton, have crossed the 2nd Cat Alto de Udana. José Ángel Gómez was the first rider over the top, followed by Totschnig, Plaza and Chaurreau.
It was a very dangerous group at the front, including Moos (Phonak), Sgambelluri (Vini Caldirola), Serrano (Liberty), Weening, Leipheimer, Kroon (Rabobank), Noval (US Postal), Cañada (Saunier), Sorensen (CSC), Moerenhout, Merckx (Lotto), Atienza, Fofonov (Cofidis), Nardello, Guerini (T-Mobile), Brochard, Chaurreau (AG2R), Dufaux, Sinkewitz (Quick Step), Gómez (Paternina), Plaza (Kelme), Totschnig (Gerolsteiner) and Aito Osa (Illes Balears).
The leading group has thinned out slightly and the leading riders are now Moos (Phonak), Sgambelluri (Vini Caldirola), Barredo (Liberty), Leipheimer, Kroon (Rabobank), Christensen (CSC), Nardello (T-Mobile), Inaudi, Chaurreau (AG2R), Dufaux (Quick Step) Plaza (Kelme), Stangelj (Saeco), Hauptman and Scotto (Lampre).
14.31, 60 km to go. Very interesting leading group and the presence of no less than ten different teams in the breakaway will mean that the work will be left to other teams; at the moment Kelme are leading the peloton.
55 km to go - Levi Leipheimer (Rabobank) and David Plaza (Kelme) attack. The gap is closing rapidly now on the breakaway - down to 1'40''.
So Leipheimer and Plaza have 40 seconds on what remains of the breakaway, while the peloton, fired up by the hot weather, bears down on the escapees.
All the main favourites are tucked in the peloton, being helped by their teammates: Paolo Bettini, Alejandro Valverde, Davide Rebellin, Igor Astarloa and Danilo Di Luca, while the gap is melting like an ice cream under a hot Basque sky.
45 km to go. Leipheimer and Plaza are pulled back by the rest of the escapees, but the peloton is now very close, probably under a minute. The race is waiting to explode.
Reminding us of the closing ceremonies at the Tour de France, in a Belgian magazine, actor Will Smith, said: "If I really wanted to, I'd win the Tour de France." The magazine also commented: "Actor Will Smith, not hindered by any cycling knowledge." (Bit like our commentary team, then. Only joking...)
At the beginning of the Jaizkibel the peloton is 40 seconds behind the escapees. It's safe to assume that they will be caught soon enough, Leipheimer has already dropped his companions, being the superior climber.
Bettini, shirt open, is putting the hammer down on the first strokes of the Jaizkibel. Ullrich is following attentively. Bettini knows that the first few kms are the steepest, and that it's there that the boys will be separated from the men.
Valverde with a mechanical now! He gets a new wheel from a teammate, and has taken off again. It will take a lot of his strength to get back to the front of the race though.
It seems to be that Rabobank shows some major interest in Valverde to persuade him to join the boys in orange and blue. Rabobank is losing some of their major forces next season with Lotz almost surely changing to Quickstep and Traksel and some others not getting their contracts renewed.
Valverde seems to be returning into the main group now, and Leipheimer is about to be taken back by the big guns.
Bettini leading, looking mighty strong. Rebellin in his shadow watching like a hawk. The peloton is now thinning out faster than Leipheimer's hair line.
Karpets has a meeting with the man with the hammer, and has dropped from the back. Piepoli with an acceleration up front, and Rebellin follows...Bettini and Co. take it easy. Azevedo and Hincapie not looking so strong today.
The riders are still in the wooded lower slopes as the peloton climb steadily upwards towards blue Spanish skies.
Attack by a Liberty Seguros rider, maybe Marcos Serrano? He shakes off yet again a few riders, but Bettini and Rebellin are still there...where is Valverde? Can he make it back up front?
We have a group of 7 leaders now, with a smaller group of some 5 riders following about 100 meters behind. The two groups melt together - the peloton split into pieces on the cruel slopes - Ullrich and Astarloa chasing back together.
They are being hunted down by the bigger main group with the other main favorites in it. Up front we have Bettini, Rebellin, Totschnig, Basso, Piepoli, Serrano and a Relax-Bodysol rider. Ullrich leads the second group.
Rebellin at the front, being helped by Totschnig, who is doing an awesome ride for his captain. The smaller group chasing them with Ullrich, Astarloa and Merckx is about to get caught by what's left of the peloton, with Valverde in it....let's see who will organize the chase now!
Most of the riders who want to be good and even better in a week from now in Athens are present in this race, to take all the 200 km in competition to prepare legs and body best for the Olympics.
Astarloa is looking a drink - sangria? Basso, in the front group, was second last year and is looking very relaxed today. Perdiguero also in the front group.
Freire is in the 'peloton' of 30 people, that might be interesting when it comes to a group sprint...Freire this morning at breakfast signed for another two years at Rabobank. He will presumably be one of the big guns as well next weekend in Athens.
The chasing group, containing Ullrich, is gaining in numbers but not perhaps the speed, to catch the front group.
One kilometer to go 'til the summit of the Jaizkibel!
Still, Totschnig setting down an evil pace on the climb for his Captain - the lead group now has a gap of 15 seconds, while our Belgian and Dutch commentators are now officially melted down, sweltering in the hot, hot weather.
The leading group over the top; the gap is nearly a minute - it looks like the lead group will stay away.
Bettini, Rebellin, Serrano, Perdiguero, Totschnig, Alberto Martínez and Basso looking very good at the front - they might yet be caught, but with riders of their class it now seems unlikely. Bettini might be making some people money today...
Ullrich with a mechanical too now!
Ullrich is waiting for the right size of rear wheel...game over for him - it looks like the mechanics are Bettini supporters to me. (Only joking.)
Now they swoop down the Jaizkibel. The 7 leading riders may need a cool drink - possibly 7-Up. On the descent, glimpses of the sea and sky, and the first view of San Sebastian town. It looks nice and cool there under those trees...welcoming after that climb in the smoldering heat of the sun.
Martinez attacks in the front group!
21 km to go. It was a good choice to attack for Martinez, because all of the "big" names will be looking at each other to chase him!
Bettini, Rebellin, Serrano, Perdiguero, Totschnig, and Basso will have to watch Martinez - meanwhile in the regrouped peloton behind, Astarloa seems to be having a few problems.
Martinez is pulled back. Dekker is in second position behind Flecha, willing to give it a good go to obtain a second win in this World Cup classic. Back to 7 men in the lead.
There's a chance that we'll see a repeat of last year's scenario, with a two-man sprint between Bettini and Basso -
they have 56 seconds on the peloton.
The leaders are now riding towards the last climb of the day, the 3rd category climb of Gurutze. Saeco lead the chase from the peloton, while a Quickstep rider, er, tries to help them by getting in the way.
After a good Tour de France and already a good year so far, Totschnig is setting the pace higher.
Rebellin, in the World Cup leader's jersey, is letting Totschnig do all the work - he will be saving his legs for the final showdown - now Rebellin comes to the front himself, just to prove me wrong.
On the climb of the Gurutze - only 3rd cat - but it will stretch already tired legs. Now Pippo Simeoni attacks off the front of the peloton.
Bettini attacks! On the Gurutze! 15km to go.
He is pulled back the 7 men, together again. Simeoni is chasing in the back, tearing the chasing group apart. No Postals around to stop him, apparently...
Bettini still setting the pace at the front, these Magnificent 7 may yet become a spaghetti western while the peloton behind is now 1'21" behind.
The seven leaders swoop down the Gurutze; they will not be caught and will now be thinking of tactics in the run up to the final showdown. The nervousness is building up front.
11 kms to go. Bettini is the fastest man on paper, but Perdiguero and Rebellin aren't slow either. The others shouldn't be able to upset those three in a sprint, but you never know...
Rebellin may be thinking more of points for the World Cup than the victory - then again...he has the advantage of a teammate in the break.
9km to go. Still the Magnificent 7 at the front. Now Basso has had some kind of problem, apparently...he's trying to get back to the leaders. It's a puncture but he gets back on.
Bettini proves himself to be one good world cup racer, with winning the overall already and being great in Hamburg last week as well. Here, when they come close to Donostia, he is one of the 7 up front.
Behind, the peloton strung out and not too organised as attack follows attack. 7 km for the 7...
Rebellin is hard to recognise in his different shirt...must say I prefer the blue one, but hey, since the tiny one from Italia wants to win some world cups, girls' eyes just adjust...
The magnificent 7 are working well together, as they head through the docklands. A whole lot of team leaders up front, just look at the back numbers: 1, 51, 101, 191, 201.
5km to go for the 7.
4km to go for the 7: Bettini, Rebellin, Serrano, Perdiguero, Totschnig, and Basso and Martinez. Attack by Serrano! Bettini on his wheel. Serrano trying to escape a sprint of course.
What are the odds in Basso having a chance to get his little girl up on the podium with him again? This time, when that would happen, she would not get distracted by some guy wearing all yellow. Instead of that she will have a good laugh on her dad having to wear the typical basque hat...3km to go.
Perdiguero doesn't wait for the sprint, surprisingly! Totschnig goes!
Basso pulls him back. There though did not seem enough power left for a real fast attack in Totschnig's legs.
2km to go - will there be another attack, or a sprint with 7? Totschnig, once more. Bettini gets him.
Under the flamme rouge...
The seven approach the finish line full speed. Basso attacks, the shimmering heat in San Sebastian. Basso attacks on the left side of the road, but Bettini takes him back.
The best sprinters of the seven try to stay cool in the tropical heat - Perdiguero gets going, and goes HARD, Bettini comes to him but is too late!!
Perdiguero takes it!
Bettini was looking at the other side when Perdiguero went, possibly a lethal 2 seconds - it is the Spanish star who proves fastest in the sprint. It's the first win for a Spanish rider since El Rey - the great Miguel Indurain in 1990.
1. Miguel Martin Perdiguero Saunier Duval 5:47:29
2. Paolo Bettini Quickstep m.t.
3. Davide Rebellin Gerolsteiner m.t.
4. Marcos Serrano Liberty Seguros m.t.
5. Alberto Martinez Relax Bodysol m.t.
6. Georg Totchnig Gerolsteiner at 5"
7. Ivan Basso CSC m.t.
Bettini is getting a tad closer to Rebellin in the WC overall ranking, but not much. 44 points behind still.
1 Martin Perdiguero, M.A. Sdv 5:18:35
2 Bettini, Paolo Qsd m.t.
3 Rebellin, Davide Gst m.t.
4 Serrano, Marcos Lst m.t.
5 Martinez, Alberto Reb m.t.
6 Basso, Ivan Csc a 6
7 Totschnig, Georg Gst m.t.
8 Verbrugghe, Rik Lot a 1:19
9 Zaballa, Constantino Sdv a 1:35
10 Zberg, Markus Gst a 1:39
11 Freire, Oscar Rab m.t.
12 Astarloa, Igor Lam m.t.
13 Flecha, J.Antonio Fas m.t.
14 Moreni, Cristian Alb m.t.
15 Florencio, Xavier Reb m.t.
16 Valjavec, Tadej Pho m.t.
17 Virenque, Richard Qsd m.t.
18 Celestino, Mirko Sae m.t.
19 Dekker, Erik Rab m.t.
20 Garzelli, Stefano Vin m.t.
21 Cunego, Damiano Sae m.t.
22 Julich, Bobby Csc m.t.
23 Garcia Quesada, Carlos Kel m.t.
24 Herrero, David Alm m.t.
25 Simeoni, Filippo Dve m.t.
26 Oriol, Christophe A2r m.t.
27 Merckx, Axel Lot m.t.
28 Caruso, Giampaolo Lst m.t.
29 Gustov, Volodymir Fas m.t.
30 Rodriguez, Joaquin Sdv m.t.
31 Noval, Benjamín Usp a 4:28
32 Sironi, Gianluca Vin a 5:24
33 Garcia Acosta, José Ibb m.t.
34 Schleck, Frank Csc m.t.
35 Vasseur, Cedric Cof m.t.
36 Lopez, Joaquin Alm m.t.
37 Bossoni, Paolo Lam m.t.
38 Faresin, Gianni Gst m.t.
39 Camenzind, Oscar Pho m.t.
40 Vila, Francisco Lam m.t.
41 Gutierrez, José Iván Ibb m.t.
42 Arreitunandia, Peio Baq m.t.
43 Lopez, David Baq m.t.
44 Tschopp, Johann Pho m.t.
45 Plaza, Rubén Kel m.t.
46 Baguet, Serge Lot m.t.
47 Fertonani, Marco Pho m.t.
48 Davis, Allan Lst m.t.
49 Dominguez, Juan Carlos Sdv m.t.
50 Sinkewitz, Patrick Qsd m.t.
51 Rincon, Daniel Usp m.t.
52 Goubert, Stephane A2r m.t.
53 Trentin, Guido Cof m.t.
54 Hincapie, George Usp m.t.
55 Azevedo, José Usp m.t.
56 Di Luca, Danilo Sae m.t.
57 Petrov, Evgeni Sae m.t.
58 Gonzalez, Aitor Fas m.t.
59 Valverde, Alejandro Kel m.t.
60 Piepoli, Leonardo Sdv m.t.
61 Valverde, Alejandro Kel m.t.
62 Piepoli, Leonardo Sdv m.t.
63 Zabel, Erik Tmo a 9:33
64 Jufre, Josep Reb m.t.
65 Bruseghin, Marzio Fas m.t.
66 Leipheimer, Levy Rab m.t.
67 Brochard, Laurent A2r m.t.
68 Tonkov, Pavel Vin m.t.
69 Sunderland, Scott Alb m.t.
70 Nardello, Daniele Tmo m.t.
71 Schnider, Daniel Pho m.t.
72 Krivtsov, Yuriy A2r m.t.
73 Boogerd, Michael Rab m.t.
74 Calcagni, Patrick Vin m.t.
75 Rasmussen, Michael Rab m.t.
76 Menchov, Denis Ibb m.t.
77 Karpets, Vladimir Ibb m.t.
78 Fuentes, Juan Sae m.t.
79 Paolini, Luca Qsd m.t.
80 Chaurreau, Iñigo A2r a 11:14
81 Ivanov, Serguei Tmo m.t.
82 Sgambelluri, Roberto Vin m.t.
83 Bayarri, Gonzalo Pho m.t.
84 Noe, Andrea Alb m.t.
85 Rebollo, Jose Luis Reb m.t.
86 Bertolini, Alessandro Alb m.t.
87 Wegmann, Christian Gst m.t.
88 Stangelj, Gorazd Sae m.t.
89 Elgezabal, Mikel Alm m.t.
90 Roesems, Bert Reb m.t.
91 Atienza, Daniel Cof m.t.
92 Hauptman, Andrej Lam m.t.
93 Miholjevic, Vladimir Alb m.t.
94 Palacio, Francisco Baq m.t.
95 Martinez, Egoi Eus m.t.
96 Gentili, Massimiliano Dve m.t.
97 Gonzalez, Gorka Eus m.t.
98 Horrillo, Pedro Qsd m.t.
99 Burgos, Nacor Reb m.t.
100 Astarloza, Mikel A2r m.t.
101 Kolobnev, Alexandr Dve m.t.
102 Dueñas, Moises Reb m.t.
103 Perez, Luis Cof m.t.
104 Zubeldia, Haimar Eus m.t.
105 Latasa, David Kel m.t.
106 Scholz, Ronny Gst m.t.
107 Caucchioli, Pietro Alb m.t.
108 Scotto, Michele Lam m.t.
109 Gonzalez, Jonathan Alm m.t.
110 Gerosa, Mauro Vin m.t.
111 Vansevenant, Wim Lot m.t.
112 Hoste, Leif Lot m.t.
113 Serpellini, Marco Gst m.t.
114 Wauters, Marc Rab m.t.
115 Weening, Pieter Rab m.t.
116 Moos, Alexandre Pho m.t.
117 Kroon, Karsten Rab m.t.
118 Landaluze, Iñigo Eus m.t.
119 Isasi, Iñaki Eus m.t.
120 Sanchez, Luis Lst m.t.
121 Guerini, Giuseppe Tmo m.t.
122 Van Summeren, Johan Reb m.t.
123 D'hollander, Glenn Lot m.t.
124 Commesso, Salvatore Sae m.t.
125 Andriotto, Dario Vin m.t.
126 Perez, Aitor Baq a 15:57
127 Cañada, David Sdv m.t.
128 Del Rio, Ion Alm m.t.
129 Spezialetti, Alessandro Sae m.t.
130 Pellizotti, Franco Alb m.t.
131 Ormaetxea, Jokin Alm m.t.
132 Botero, Santiago Tmo m.t.
133 Iannetti, Massimo Dve m.t.
134 Inaudi, Nicolas A2r m.t.
135 Ferrara, Raffaele Alb m.t.
136 Cioni, Dario David Fas m.t.
137 Scarponi, Michele Dve m.t.
138 Gomez Marchante, J. Angel Alm m.t.
139 Zinetti, Mauro Vin m.t.
1 Totschnig, Georg Ger 16
2 Gómez Marchante, J. Ángel Pat 14
3 Rebellin, Davide Ger 11
4 Landaluze, Iñigo Eus 8
5 Bettini, Paolo Qui 7
6 Chaurreau, Iñigo Ag2r 5
7 Serrano, Marcos Lib 4
8 Basso, Iván Csc 4
9 Garzelli, Stefano Vin 4
10 Osa, Aitor Ill 3
11 Plaza, Rubén Kel 2
12 Krivtsov, Yuriy Ag2r 2
13 Martín Perdiguero, M.A. Sau 1
14 Martínez, Egoi Eus 1