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"Realistically our goal was top five - maybe a podium if all went well - and we just missed the fifth with Haimar. He is not a fast guy, so the seventh was the best he could do at the end, and it is a very good result,”

Photo: Sirotti






02.08.2014 @ 21:16 Posted by Andy Pedersen

Trek Factory Racing rides in strong support of a motivated Hamar Zubeldia in his hometown race. Haimar Zubeldia is no stranger to the Clasica San Sebastian, a race in his backyard and a race where he has accumulated numerous top 10 finishes.


He added to his tally with a strong seventh place finish Saturday, arriving with two others as they contested the sprint for fifth place.


“The race was different this year because of the last climb, which was more suited to the explosive climbers and not really so good for us. Realistically our goal was top five – maybe a podium if all went well – and we just missed the fifth with Haimar. He is not a fast guy, so the seventh was the best he could do at the end, and it is a very good result,” Director Josu Larrazabal said to the Trek website.


“Haimar is always highly motivated for this race – it passed right by his home – and he always has good form coming off the Tour.”


The 219-kilometer one-day WorldTour race in Spain’s Basque Country, always held the week following the Tour de France, contained six classified climbs, but it was the last ascent, a new addition to the parcours this year, where the race was decided.


Five riders emerged over the top of the short but steep climb that topped out seven kilometers from the finish. On the four-kilometer technical descent Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) moved clear and was able to hold off three chasers and seal a huge win after his disappointment in missing the Tour de France final podium a week ago.


14 seconds later Bauke Mollema (Belkin) sprinted in for second place ahead of Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha).


Trek Factory Racing, unified in its effort behind Haimar, first commanded the chase with Orica-GreenEdge when a threatening seven-man escape formed with 30 kilometers to go, and once it was neutralized, led him into excellent position for the final crucial uphill.


“Markel [Irizar], Jasper [Stuyven], and Boy [van Poppel] did a fantastic job helping bring back the seven men, which had many of the favorites. Then Stijn [Devolder], Eugenio [Alafaci], and Laurent [Didier] were with Haimar at the end and helped put him in good position for the final climb,” Larrazabal said.


“Unfortunately Fränk [Schleck] was dropped with 30 kilometers to go and he stopped. It has been a difficult week for him after the Tour, he got sick and today he still was not at 100%. He started, but it was unknown how he would go today,” he continued.


The peloton, already decimated from the earlier climbs, completely shattered on the last tight, and twisty slope. Haimar arrived to the finish with two others, 26 seconds behind Valverde, and a mere 12 seconds from a podium finish.


The Clasica San Sebastian can be a hit or miss race for the riders arriving from the Tour de France, explained Josu Larrazabal. Fränk was one of the unlucky, but Haimar, in a race where he typically shines, showed again that he was able to carry form from his eighth place finish a week prior.


“Many guys finish the Tour extremely tired and then the body shuts down afterwards and they get sick. But you can also see by the results today – all those in the top 10 came from the Tour – that if you avoid becoming sick your fitness is so high, and this really comes to the forefront after 200 kilometers of racing,” he finished.



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