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“The group looked so much at each other with Valverde there that a few guys came back in the last kilometer with more speed and that was a little bit disappointing,” Mollema said.

Photo: A.S.O.

BAUKE MOLLEMA

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CLASICA SAN SEBASTIAN

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TREK - SEGAFREDO

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01.08.2015 @ 19:56 Posted by Andy Pedersen

Clásica San Sebastian, the Spanish Classic that always follows a week after the Tour de France, is a race that Bauke Mollema loves: second last year, fifth in 2012, and this year sixth after he again was part of a small select group that crested the final climb to fight out the final seven-kilometer run-in.

 

“I really like this race, it’s a hard race with a nice parcours with big roads and not too stressful and nice climbs,” Mollema said TFR.com. “I was hoping for more than the 6th place this year but in the end it is what it is. I was feeling quite good after the Tour. You never know how you will feel and it’s always strange to race again after just five days of rest after the Tour, but the legs were quite good.”

 

Same as last year it was the final three-kilometer climb to the Hotel San Sebastian (9% average and maximum 22% gradient) that summited 7.3 kilometers from the finish of the 219-kilometer race where the decisive winning move was made.

 

“The group looked so much at each other with Valverde there that a few guys came back in the last kilometer with more speed and that was a little bit disappointing,” Mollema said.

 

Adam Yates (Orica GreenEdge) attacked on the steep ascent and increased his small advantage on the technical descent followed by a flat run-in to the finish line. Bauke Mollema was part of six that crested seconds later, but with everyone looking at each other and no one wanting to take Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), last year’s victor and the best sprinter in the mix, to the line, the group let the gap grow.

 

Yates went uncontested to the finish to take the win while the chase group neutralized each other so well that a handful of others latched on, swelling their numbers to 15 right before the line. Mollema sprinted to 5th in the group to take 6th place, 15 seconds after Yates.

 

“There was a pretty big breakaway that went the second time on the Jaizkibel climb with about 50 kilometers to go, and we had Julian [Arredondo] in there so that was really good. He was riding very strong today.  We came back to them on this last climb, it’s really steep and small with a lot of spectators, and same as last year everything came down to this climb,” Mollema said.

 

“I think Yates attacked over the climb, I didn’t see it because there was a crash with the moto and Van Avermaet and I was just coming back to the group on top; I had to pass a lot of guys and close gaps. I was just back and saw that he was in the front,” he continued.

 

“I tried once to attack in the end but we were looking too much to each other. We were not really working together well to get Yates back and then in the last corner suddenly Gilbert and Moreno came back and that was a pity because it’s hard to beat Gilbert in a sprint.”

 

Trek Factory Racing played its hand in the climbers Spanish Classic to perfection, motivated by Mollema’s chances to better his second place in 2014. When the crucial action began 50 or so kilometers from the end Julian Arredondo was strategically part of the move, and when the big guns fired on the final steep uphill Mollema was part of the elite seven men that separated from the rest.

 

Trek Factory Racing director Josu Larrazabal summed up the day:

 

“Jasper [Stuyven] had stomach problems and had to stop in the feed zone. The rest of the guys did well – in the first part Stijn [Devolder], Markel [Irizar] and Laurent [Didier] supported Bauke, and then in the second part with the climbs Bob [Jungels], Fabio [Felline] and Julian. I am satisfied with how we rode; of course the goal was to try and win the race, but you always need to have a little bit of luck, too. We played as best we could to support Bauke, he was second last year so the goal was to be first this year. It’s difficult with guys like Valverde and Rodriguez in the group at the end, and then after the others that came back…this race is like this.”

 

“The race was quite similar to last year. Having Julian join the first big move was super good, and the biggest gap they had was 30 seconds because Movistar and Katusha were always pulling. The gap was small but not coming down and when Gilbert jumped to the group we had Julian sit and now work anymore and we began to also help pull to bring it all back together before the bottom of the last climb.”

 

“The group looked so much at each other with Valverde there that a few guys came back in the last kilometer with more speed - a few guys finished ahead of Bauke that were not in his group at first and that was a little bit disappointing.  But the race is like it is and when it’s over there is nothing you can do to change that.”

 

“We played well to support Bauke to have an advantage at the end and we did our best. Bauke finished strong at the end of the Tour and today also he was there to fight at the end for a result.”

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