Julian Alaphilippe to defend San Sebastian Classic Title
The only Spanish World Tour one-day race contains seven leg-sapping ascents jammed in a 226km-long course.
Less than a week from the end of the Tour de France, many of the riders who completed the second Grand Tour of the season will line out for the 39th edition of Clasica San Sebastian, a spectacular race to the taste of climbers and puncheurs alike. Starting and finishing in the charming city that lies on the coast of the Atlantic, the race – which puts on the table a slightly revamped course – should get off to a quiet start before coming to life on the iconic Jaizkibel climb (8.3km, 5.3%), which will make a first selection in the peloton.
With 70 kilometers to go, the riders will take on the Erlaitz, a 3.8km-long ascent averaging 10.6%, that will further whittle down the bunch, while Mendizorrotz could give the cue for some other moves from the field. Despite these hurdles, it’s widely expected that the big and potentially decisive attacks will be launched on the brutal Murgil Tontorra (1.8km, 11.5%), whose steep and grueling gradients and narrow roads can be used as springboard to victory, especially as the hill tops less than ten kilometers from the finish on the famous Boulevard.
Defending champion and UCI Classification leader Julian Alaphilippe will be at the start, where he’ll come after a tremendous Tour de France during which he ascended to a whole new level after finishing fifth overall, winning two stages and spending 14 days in the yellow jersey. He will be joined for the 39th edition of the Spanish event by Eros Capecchi, Tim Declercq, Dries Devenyns, Belgium Tour victor Remco Evenepoel (who will make his first outing in a one-day World Tour race), Mikkel Honoré and Enric Mas.
Last year, Alaphilippe and Mollema escaped on the day's final climb, the Murgil Tontorra which featured sections with a gradient of 22 percent, before the Frenchman shone again in a two-man sprint.
Also taking part is Egan Bernal (Team Ineos), who will hope to be recovered from the post-Tour celebrations and criteriums.
Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates) will be lining up, too, having had a disappointing Tour that saw him make very little impact on the race.
Both Adam and Simon Yates are taking part, Adam having won the race in 2015, while Simon will be riding high after two stage wins at the Tour.
Former winners lining up include world champion Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo), Tony Gallopin (Ag2r La Mondiale) and Luis León Sánchez (Astana).