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Yates stormed up the final steep climb after attacking and built on his gap on the descent to take a huge solo win. Philippe Gilbert's group caught a six man chase and he beat Alejandro Valverde in the sprint for second.

Photo: Tour of Turkey/Mario Stiehl




01.08.2015 @ 17:23 Posted by Joseph Doherty

Adam Yates won three races in his neo-pro year last season but this year he has been injured and brother Simon has stolen the spotlight. Both men had good Tour de France results and headed into the Clasica San Sebastian as Orica-Greenedge leaders. Adam made the lead group last year but crashed on the descent.


Yates escaped at the top of the steep climb to Hotel San Sebastian and his six chasers never got organised, allowing him to solo home 15 seconds clear, while Philippe Gilbert came from a big group to catch the chasers to win the sprint for second ahead of Alejandro Valverde.


187 of the 188 starters scheduled to ride the Clasica San Sebastian were present at the start line this morning, with the exception of LottoNL-Jumbo’s Brian Bulgac.


It was quite a controlled start to the race, with no attacks until 10km in, when eight riders attacked, and the peloton instantly sat up. The riders in the break were Lluis Mas (Caja Rural-RGA), Valerio Agnoli (Astana), Manuele Boaro (Tinkoff-Saxo), Thomas Degand (IAM), Nathan Haas (Cannondale-Garmin), Romain Hardy (Cofidis) Dennis Vannendert (Lotto-Soudal) and Maarten Wynants (LottoNL-Jumbo).


The peloton sat up completely and by kilometer 28, they had a gap of 4:30. By the time the eight men had headed over the climbs of the Alto de Zudugarai and Alto de Meagas, they had established a lead of over five minutes. 


Movistar controlled the pace in the peloton for favourite Alejandro Valverde and by the summit of the first category Iturburu climb, the lead was down to four minutes for the eight out front. Not long after the climb was over, BMC youngster Rick Zabel retired from the race. 


The race was beginning to reach the serious part as the breakaway made it to the first ascent of the Jaizkibel climb, fir the first of two ascents this afternoon. At this point their lead was just three minutes.


As the bunch came over the top of the Jaizkibel, the list of abandonments began to grow, with riders like Navardauskas, De Kort, Kadri and Stuyven calling time on their race day.


On the last ascent of the Jaizkibel, Boaro pushed on at the front and split the break, with only Degand and Vanendert chasing him. Meanwhile, Astana’s Rein Taaramae, Trek’s Julian Aredondo, Cofidis’ Stephane Rossetto and BMC’s Damiano Caruso attacked and caught the remnants of the break just before the summit. Mikel Landa (Astana), Warren Barguil (Giant-Alpecin) joined up a few others moved off the front on the climb too and over the top, all of these groups came together to make a lead group of 16: the eight original break riders minus Mas, Taaramae, Arredondo, Caruso, Rossetto, Landa, Siutsou, Barguil, Serry (Etixx) and Silin (Katusha).


This was clearly too dangerous and Movistar reacted quickly in-between the Jaizbikel and Arkale to close the move down. Katusha, working for Joaquim Rodriguez, have joined the chase to break the break back on the slopes of the Arkale.


Another group jumped off the front that included BMC’s 2011 winner Philippe Gilbert. Also in the group were Silin, Rossetto, Barguil, Cannondale-Garmin’s Ryder Hesjedal, plus seven others.


This group thinned as the riders crossed the line to begin the final 16km lap. Out front it was just Barguil, Serry, Gilbert, Rossetto, Arredondo, Landa, Silin and Hesjedal and they had 25 seconds on the bunch with 14km remaining. 5km later Barguil decided to attack as he made it onto the steep wall to the Hotel San Sebastian (2.7km at 9% average and a maximum of 22%).


Barguil was absorbed close to the summit and Orica-Greenedge’s Adam Yates flew past him over the top and he had a group of six chasing him: Valverde, Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), Roman Kreuziger (Tinkoff-Saxo), Dan Martin (Cannondale-Garmin), Rigoberto Uran (Etixx) and Bauke Mollema (Trek).


They were 9 seconds behind at the summit but never organized a chase on the descent and tried attacking each other. Yates gap grew on the descent and he soloed across the line but didn’t celebrate as he didn’t know he had won.


The chase was absorbed by a bigger group just before the final kilometer and an aggressive Gilbert outsprinted Valverde for second.




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