Clásica San Sebastián
Valverde takes 2nd behind Gallopin (RLT) at Clásica San Sebastián after demolishing tactics from Movistar Team, controlling the race from the beginning and launching a duo attack through Jaizkibel with the Spaniard and a powerful Quintana
The brave tactics from Movistar Team in the 33rd editino of the Clásica San Sebastián, the only Spanish WorldTour one-day race, came one step short with Alejandro Valverde’s second place after the demanding, rainy, 232-kilometer course in Gipuzkoa, with five rated climbs. The effort from the telephone squad from the start of the race, controlling a four-man attempt whose lead grew up to 11 minutes of advantage, was continued in the first succession of climbs towards Jaizkibel (Cat-1) and Arkale (Cat-2).
The first ascent saw José and Jesús Herrada controlling the flurry of attacks into the bunch. The Spaniard road champion entered a pursuit group that was chased down into the second Jaizkibel uphill by an unchained Movistar Team, with short, hard turns by Castroviejo and José Herrada before a huge duo attack from Alejandro Valverde and Nairo Quintana. The excellent work from the Colombian allowed the lead group to reach almost one minute of advantage, with several riders dropped into the climb bridging to form a 13-man field, always with Valverde in a leading role. Tony Gallopin (RLT) would later profit from lack of cooperation to launch an attack.
Valverde, joined by Roche and Kreuziger (TST) as well as Landa and Nieve (EUS), started an unsuccessful pursuit against the Frenchman in the final run into San Sebastián, having to content himself with 2nd place to fulfil an excellent job from the riders directed by José Luis Arrieta, after Madrazo’s 2nd spot on Thursday in Ordizia, the first stop of a big week in Basque cycling that will conclude at the Circuito de Getxo on Wednesday.
REACTION / Alejandro Valverde: “We have to be happy with this result, because we did the best we could to win, as well myself as the rest of the team. We knew we were the favourites – though it’s even more difficult to show it when everyone is looking at you – and took charge of the pace into the bunch from the beginning. My team-mates were phenomenal today. The strategy was making the race hard with Nairo into the second Jaizkibel climb to split the group and make it easy to control, and we succeeded. Kreuziger attacked in the final slopes, and even though I waited a bit to see how he went, I had to move with 1k remaining because he was too dangerous. I caught him into the downhill, but after that, it was impossible to go after every single wheel, and Gallopin was gone. I was hopeful we could chase him down, because we were getting closer and closer and even saw him into the final small climb in the city, but it was impossible. I was there with two Euskaltels and two Saxos and couldn’t simply push more than them and burning myself. Now it’s time to take some days of rest, but not too much – I didn’t really train hard this week. It’s time to think about the Vuelta.”