August, the city of San Sebastián and some of the best riders of the international peloton. That was the recipe of a hotly contested Clásica San Sebastián 2018, with many attacks from the very first kilometers. The race started with a minute of silence to pay tribute to Armand de Las Cuevas, former winner of the Clásica, who passed away this week.
With 153 riders on the start list, the peloton gathered this morning in the Boulevard of San Sebastián. The breakaway was formed at km 10 with six riders: Torres (BBH,67) Luis Mas (CJR,75) Bagüés (EUS,92) Barthe (EUS,93) Rodriguez (EUS,97) and Chetout (COF,83) – who rode fast enough to open a maximum gap of 7’50”. In the meantime, the peloton was commanded by Lotto NL Jumbo, fighting for the victory of Roglic, eager to get the Txapela.
After the first climb to Jaizkibel and Arkale, the gap was reduced to 2’30” and the teams with no representatives in the breakaway started to attack. All the escapees were caught except Barthe (EUS,93), who was neutralized in the last climb to Arkale, after a triple attack in front of the peloton. Arkale triggered the race, putting a higher rhythm in the peloton with continuous attacks, some of them commanded by Latour (ALM, 16) that didn’t come to fruition. The attacks kept going in order to form another break and try to avoid the fact that the race was going to be decided in Murgil, the last climb.
With 20 km to go, after a slip of a rider in the head of the peloton, a massive crash occurred with riders such as Landa, Latour, Gallopin, Gorka Izagirre and Egan Bernal involved, among others.
The peloton attacked the last climb to Murgil increasing the rhythm which caused another crash with no consequences for Kochetkov (TKA,174).
The ramps of Murgil cleared the peloton and left only the strongest riders at the head of the race. Tolhoek (TLJ,187) commanded the climb with Molard (GFC,105), but Mollema (TFS,201) and Alaphilippe (QST,141) attacked a few meters before getting to the top and formed a gap of 30” with the chasing group.
Finally, Alaphilippe and Mollema fought for the Clásica San Sebastián in a final sprint in which Julian Alaphilippe proved – once again – he’s in great shape. The podium was completed by Anthony Roux – French Champion - and the winner of the mountain and the sprints classification was the Euskadi Basque Country – Murias rider, Cyril Barthe who was also declared the most aggressive rider of the day. The best Basque rider was Jon Izagirre and the winner of the youth classification Antwan Tolhoek.