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Mollema soloed away from Valverde, Gallopin on Rodriguez after a hard final climb. Gallopin beat Valverde in the sprint for second.

Photo: Sirotti

BAUKE MOLLEMA

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CLASICA SAN SEBASTIAN

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TREK - SEGAFREDO

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30.07.2016 @ 18:44 Posted by Joseph Doherty

The Clasica San Sebastian, Spain’s biggest one day race, got underway in dry conditoons and it took less than 20km for the day’s break to be formed: Moreno Moser (Cannondale), Przemyslaw Niemiec (Lampre-Merida), Pirmin Lang (IAM), Jacques Janse van Rensburg (Dimension Data), Loic Chetout (Cofidis) and Jaime Roson of Caja Rural, recently interviewed by CyclingQuotes, were the six men up the road, quickly gaining over six minutes.

 

The peloton slowly reduced the gap to just under 5:30 as the break hit the days first climb, the 10km long Iturburu, Moser leading them over the line first. The team doing the chasing was Movistar, who have 2014 winner Alejandro Valverde leading there team, as well as Ion Izagirre.

 

Heading to the first ascent of the Jaizkibel, one of BMC’s leaders Richie Porte stopped to change a bike. Once onto the climb, the breaks advantage was starting to tumble under pressure, just 3:12 before the Jaizkibel’s summit.

 

As Lang was dropped from the break, the peloton became really aggressive, with Astana sending two up the road and quickly being joined by eight other riders, including Kwiatkowski of Sky and Greg Van Avermaet of BMC. Movistar had Gorka Izagirre in the group, which was around 1:20 behind the break as the descent finished. Katusha were leading the bunch behind, just 25 seconds in arrears as the Arkale loomed.

 

The chase group was really strong, including Stybar (Etixx), Mas (Caja Rural), Txurruka (Orica), Luis Leon Sanchez and Malacarne (Astana) Vilela (Cannondale) and Gatto (Tinkoff).

 

However, Katusha fought really hard and neutralized the move with 70km to go, leaving the break with 1:35 of a gap. Chetout was unable to handle the pace on a small drag and he too found himself jettisoned from the breakaway. FDJ had a small disaster in the bunch as two of the strongest guys on their team, Arthur Vichot and Alexandre Geniez had a crash as the bunch fought for position going into the second time up the Jaizkibel.

 

Astana continued their aggression on the climb with Dario Cataldo making a move, being joined swiftly by home rider Mikel Landa (Sky). Six riders or so made it up to the duo as the peloton was splitting all over the race. Chernetskii (Katusha), De la Cruz (Etixx), De Marchi (BMC), Koshevoy (Lampre-Merida) and Woods (Cannondale) were the riders who were with Cataldo and Landa.

 

Just under 60km to go and the break was absorbed by the chase group. Movistar upped the pace having missed the group and this surprisingly dropped Kwiatkowski, whose strange season continued as he has looked well off the pace since winning E3, despite taking third in a bunch sprint just a few weeks ago in Poland. Up front, Woods, Cataldo and Landa were the guys putting the pace, although they had less than 10 seconds over the top. Movistar put their best descenders to the front and took the group back with just over 50km from home.

 

Cannondale set an infernal tempo onto the Arkale as they aimed to set Rigoberto Uran up for the win. A small split occured due to the tempo, with the likes of Roche, Kennaugh (Sky) and Pauwels (Dimension Data) staying in touch, while the likes of Jungels (Etixx) and Contador (Tinkoff) losing ground.

 

Things settled again on the descent as Movistar came to the front to relieve Cannondale’s Davide Formolo.

 

At just over 2okm from home, Igor Anton (Dimension Data) and Paolo Tiralongo (Astana) jumped clear. They barely had a gap and it was all together just under 20km from home. First time across the finish line it was still grupo compacto as Orica-BikeExchange, Movistar, Katusha and BMC headed the field.

 

Heading into the day’s last climb of the Murgil Tontorra, which maxes out at 25%, the pace was very high thanks to Orica. Chris Juul Jensen and Daryl Impey set pace for the Yates twins as Irish duo of Dan Martin and Roche lingered behind the Australian team.

Onto the hill, the first move came from Uran and Simon Yates jumped straight on the wheel, followed by Van Avermaet and Roche, with the rest following in tow.

 

Yates went next and was chased by Rodriguez (Katusha). Valverde and Martin were just a few metres behind. Roche, Mollema and Wellens joined the chasing duo as Rodriguez dropped Yates. Mollema was the rider who closed the gap with Valverde and Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Soudal). Brambilla (Etixx) was with Yates, Formolo and Roche just a few seconds behind.

 

Mollema attacked and only Gallopin seemed to ride in the trio behind. The Dutchman got into time trial mode and passed the 5km to go banner with a gap of 11 seconds. Rodriguez was struggling to keep up on the descent as Van Avermaet and an IAM rider made the bridge to group three. As Mollema made it to the flat at 3km to go, he had just six seconds of a lead.

 

Once again there was looking around from the chasers and Mollema extended his gap. The gap just got bigger and bigger as Bauke Mollema went some way towards making up for going from 2nd to 11th in the final weekend of the Tour by taking his first WorldTour one-day win.

 

Gallopin beat Vavlverde in the sprint for second 16 seconds behing as Van Avermaet took the sprint from group three for fifth.

 

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