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Clasica Ciclista San Sebastian Preview

Discussion in 'Cycling' started by G&GR News Bot, Aug 14, 2012.

  1. G&GR News Bot Bob McCowan (2)

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    When speaking about the one day race classics, you cannot go past the iconic San Sebastian. The 234km classic is in it 32nd edition and is most famous for its winding roads, rough terrain and spectacular views of the beautiful Spanish coastline. Former winners include a young Lance Armstrong and more recently Philippe Gilbert and Luis Leon Sanchez.
    This year’s profile lives up to the races reputation as the riders will face two first category climbs and two second categories in the last 70km in what is set to split the field and separate the real contenders from their teams.
    Judging from the course lay-out, I cannot see the sprinters having a chance in this one. One name I was surprised to see on the Astana team list is current Olympic gold medallist, Kazak Alexandre Vinokourov. This type of race will suit him and he will line up as one of the main contenders. He will look to take control and attack earlier then some of the other climbers due to his ability to withstand long range attacks.
    Team Sky has sent out a formidable line up with Michael Rogers, Richie Porte, Sergio Henao and Rigoberto Uran all lining up for the British powerhouse. I suspect they will ride for Uran, who was outstanding at the Olympic road race, but I would not be surprised if Michael Rogers is given the all clear to attack.
    The Russian champion Alexandr Klolobnev of Katusha will look to challenge as will Orica-GreenEdge’s Simon Gerrans. Gerrans has a strong team with him, and being a specialist at these types of races he is a potential dark horse.
    Two riders who are lining up and could challenge are Alberto Contador and Sylvain Chavanel, both who are backing up from the Eneco Tour the week prior. I’m not sure how much effort these two will put in as they are both favourites coming into the Vuelta starting later in the week.
    Haimar Zubeldia, Alejandro Valverde and Jurgen van den Broeck are strong GC riders who have a habit of keeping up the pace in the mountains, so I suspect these three will go with any form of breakaways and bide their time. They will have to be strong on the descents to challenge the other riders.
    But my favourites to win are Spaniards, Luis-Leon Sanchez and the returning Samuel Sanchez. Luis Leon was in formidable form at the Tour de France, and he is the type of rider who can make time on the descents as well as being a strong climber. Samuel Sanchez is a similar style of rider to LL Sanchez, but he may have more motivation to win this one after the extremely disappointing crash in Le Tour.
    Other names who could challenge include Nicholas Roche of AG2R, Chris Anker Sorensen of Saxo Bank and Thibaut Pinot of Equipe.
    In what is an incredibly formidable line up of riders, we have some of the best riders in the world challenging this race, which, along with the scenery, begs the question as to why this is not being televised on Australian TV. ProCycling Live is probably the best site to watch with a live stream.
    So my prediction: (1) Luis-Leon Sanchez (2) Simon Gerrans and (3) Alexandre Vinokourov
    The post Clasica Ciclista San Sebastian Preview appeared first on Green and Gold Cycling.

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  2. G&GR News Bot Bob McCowan (2)

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    Spaniard Luis-Leon Sanchez put his Olympic disappointment behind him to continue his stellar form this season by taking the Clasica San Sebastian win early on Wednesday morning. The Rabo-Bank rider took his opportunity to attack five kilometres from the finishing line to race clear of the thirty man chasing pack to claim the win on the beautiful beachside boulevard.
    The victory adds to Sanchez’ already impressive record this year, adding the one-day Spanish classic to a list that includes the Spanish National Time Trial Championships along with stage wins at the Tour de France, Tour De Romandie and Paris-Nice.
    Despite the Spaniard taking the race easily in the end, he did not have it all his way. Earlier in the day it was Movistar and Astana setting a gruelling pace over the course, resulting in few attacks that lasted more than a few minutes. After the peloton completed the circuit that took them through the gruelling Jaizkebel and Arale mountains, it was the final descent that saw the race light up as numerous riders took their opportunities to break free of the Astana strangle hold.
    The break group consisted of favourites Gerrans, Valverde, Henao and Uran. After several dummy attacks, Sanchez sprinted clear as the group seemed to lose cohesion. Despite their best efforts to close the gap, Sanchez’ superior pace kept him at a 10 second gap for the remaining three kilometres. In the end it was a battle for second as Australian Simon Gerrans who won the bunch sprint for Orica-GreenEdge ahead of Gianni Meersman of Lotto-Belisol.
    Gerrans was pleased with the result, stating that it was great to return to form straight after his Olympic break. “Obviously it would have been great to sprint for the victory instead, but San Sebastian is my first race back after taking a short break after the Olympics, I’m happy to stand on the podium as I begin the last part of my season.” (Sourced from Sky News).
    On a sadder note, it was confirmed that Kazak Alexandre Vinokourov would be officially retiring from competitive cycling. The Astana team leader unfortunately could not replicate his Olympic Gold Medal heroics, finishing further down the list after looking strong early. The 38 year old commented “I am very happy because I rode my last race in San Sebastian. I tried to do it well and be competitive, however my legs were not like those of the Olympic Games.” (Sourced from The Daily Telegraph UK).
    Personally I’d like to thanks Vino for this many years of entertaining mountain riding, despite the controversy, I still found him to be one of my favourite riders. His Olympic win will be something I will never forget. Good luck with your future endeavours on the management side of Team Astana.
    The post LL Sanchez Wins The San Sebastian appeared first on Green and Gold Cycling.

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