Tony Gallopin wins Clasica de San Sebastian as Alejandro Valverde has to settle for second
Tony Gallopin claimed the biggest win of his career with a solo victory in the Clasica de San Sebastian.
Last Updated: 27/07/13 6:40pm
The RadioShack-Leopard rider attacked out of a leading group of ten riders on the final climb of the day and held on to win by 28 seconds.
Pre-race favourite Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) gave chase along with four others, but he was unable to reel the 25-year-old back in and had to settle for second place, with Roman Kreuziger (Saxo-Tinkoff) taking third.
The 232km race had earlier split apart on the penultimate climb, the category-one Jaizkibel, when Movistar upped the pace to thin down the peloton, before Kreuziger broke it apart further by launching a solo attack.
The Czech rider was later joined by seven other men on the descent, and the group then became ten on the flat section leading on to the concluding climb, the category-two Alto Arkale, after two riders bridged across.
Valverde falls short
With Valverde, Kreuziger, Moreno Moser (Cannondale), Arnold Jeannesson (FDJ) and Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step) all present, Gallopin appeared one of the riders least likely to surge ahead, but he attacked just short of the summit and quickly opened up a 25-second lead.
Five riders - Valverde, Kreuziger, Nicolas Roche (Saxo-Tinkoff) and Euskaltel-Euskadi duo Mikel Landa and Mikel Nieve - set off in pursuit and managed to take a small chunk out of the lead, but Gallopin was now in time-trial mode and drove on superbly towards the finish.
When he entered the final 2km with a 16-second lead still intact, the chasers all but turned their attentions towards a sprint for second place, leaving Gallopin free to celebrate a famous win.
The race, which is Spain's biggest one-day event, started and finished in San Sebastian and boasted a field packed with riders who finished prominently on the general classification at the Tour de France.
Nairo Quintana (Movistar), Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff) and Richie Porte (Team Sky) were all on the start line, but other than Valverde, Kreuziger and Quintana's contribution to splitting the peloton on the Jaizkibel, the big names kept a low profile.
1 Tony Gallopin (Fra) Radioshack Leopard 5:39:03
2 Alejandro Valverde (Esp) Movistar, +28secs
3 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Saxo-Tinkoff, same time
4 Mikel Nieve (Esp) Euskaltel-Euskadi, st
5 Nicolas Roche (Irl) Saxo-Tinkoff, +29
6 Mikel Landa (Esp) Euskaltel-Euskadi, +36
7 Moreno Moser (Ita) Cannondale, +51
8 Pieter Serry (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quickstep, st
9 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin, st
10 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step, st