Zaballa Wins Clasica San Sebastian
Constantino Zaballa (Saunier Duval) has won the Clasica San Sebastian.
Constantino Zaballa (Saunier Duval) has won the Clasica San Sebastian. Zaballa soloed away from six breakaway companions in the last three km to win the 227-km Spanish classic in 5:24:18. Zaballa?s teammate Joaquin Rodriguez outsprinted Eddy Mazzoleni for second at 0:31. With Martin Perdiguero having won the Clasica San Sebastian last year, Saunier Duval has taken this event for the second consecutive year.
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The racing began in relatively cool conditions. After a series of abortive sallies, Christophe Moreau (Credit Agricole), Michael Barry (Discovery Channel), Patxi Vila (Lampre), Ruban Lobato (Saunier Duval), Mauro Facci (Fassa Bortolo), Roberto Laiseka (Euskaltel), Matthias Kessler (T-Mobile), and Antonio Tauler (Illes Balears) attacked. The break led the bunch by 4:30 at 59 km and by 6:05 at 90 km. Then, the peloton began to chase.
Phonak, Gerolsteiner, Barloworld, and Quick Step led the pursuit. At 157 km, the fugitives? lead was down to 3:35. At 177 km, their advantage was about 1:30.
With 39 km left, the break led the bunch by less than 0:30. Barloworld and Davitamon reeled in the break on the Jaizkibel. Carlos Sastre (CSC) attacked and split the peloton, and Denis Menchov (Rabobank) countered.
At the summit of the Jaizkibel (196 km), Menchov was caught by Rodriguez, Haimar Zubeldia (Euskaltel), Davide Rebellin and Levi Leipheimer (both from Gerolsteiner), Cadel Evans (Davitamon), Stefano Garzelli (Liquigas), and Luis Perez (Cofidis). On the descent, a 20-strong group that contained Francisco Mancebo (Illes Balears), Chris Horner (Saunier Duval), Igor Astarloa (Barloworld), and Mazzoleni joined the lead group, which was now 30 strong. At the base of the descent, Aitor Gonzalez (Euskaltel) joined the group.
With 17 km left, Horner attacked and took Leipheimer, Luca Solari (Domina Vacanze), Xabier Zandio (Illes Balears) with him. On the day?s last climb, the Alto de Gurutze, Rebellin towed most of the mini-peloton to the leaders. At the top of the climb, Rebellin escaped with Rodriguez, Menchov, and Garzelli, but the four were caught.
When the descent of the Gurutze had been completed, the winning move was made. Garzelli, Zubeldia, Zaballa, Rodriguez, Yon Bru (Kaiku), David Moncoutie (Cofidis), and Mazzoleni escaped. The escapees forged a 20-second lead on the chasers.
Zaballa and Rodriguez drove the group. With less than three km left, Zaballa attacked. His erstwhile companions could not agree on who would chase, and Rodriguez could cover any moves. Zaballa sped up the road for the win.
Many of the riders in the Clasica San Sebastian will cross swords in the Tour of Germany and in the Vuelta a Espana. How will they fare? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!