Alejandro Valverde wins Clasica San Sebastian in Spain for second time after late solo escape
Last Updated: 02/08/14 6:20pm
Movistar's Alejandro Valverde won the Clasica San Sebastian in northern Spain for the second time after mounting a successful solo escape on the descent from the day’s final climb.
A week after missing out on a place on the podium at the Tour de France, the 34-year-old Spaniard surged ahead of a group of five leaders with around 4.5km remaining and held on to win by 14 seconds.
Belkin’s Bauke Mollema won a three-man sprint for second place, edging Katusha’s Joaquim Rodriguez into third and Team Sky’s Mikel Nieve into fourth.
English rider Adam Yates, of Orica-GreenEdge, had also been in the lead quintet, but saw his chances of victory evaporate when he crashed heavily on a downhill left-hand turn just over 3.5km from home.
Final climb decisive
The 219.2km race contained six categorised climbs, but it was on the last of them, the category-two Bordako Tontorra, that the decisive selection was made.
Katusha’s Alexander Kolobnev launched the first attack, 10km out, as he looked to force the rivals of team-mate Rodriguez to chase, but he was caught and overtaken 2km later by Nieve after the Spaniard had mounted a counter-move.
Rodriguez and Valverde had both also surged out of the peloton and quickly passed Nieve just short of the summit to take the lead on the road, while Yates and Mollema joined the Team Sky rider to form a chase trio just behind the front two on the descent.
Valverde dropped Rodriguez on the downhill to the finish and then opened up a lead big enough to guarantee him a tenth win of the reason and a repeat of his 2008 victory in San Sebastian.
1 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar, 5:31:11
2 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin, +14secs
3 Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha, same time
4 Mikel Nieve (Spa) Team Sky, st
5 Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Belisol, +26
6 Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Belisol, st
7 Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) Trek Factory Racing, st
8 Greg van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing, +40
9 Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar, st
10 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step, +43