Frenchman Tony Gallopin claimed the biggest victory of his career to date as he was victorious in the San Sebastian classic on Saturday. The Radioshack rider was followed home by Spaniard Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Czech Roman Kreuziger (Saxo) in a time of just over five-and-a-half hours. Gallopin made a strong breakaway from the leading pack with over 10 kilometers of the grueling 232 kilometer race to go and managed to comfortably hold his lead at the front of the peloton to finish 26 seconds ahead of Valverde.
Gallopin’s vital move came on the second climb up to Arkale as he opened up a significant advantage on the leading group, including the fancied Valverde and Nicolas Roche (Saxo), and couldn’t be caught as rain made the descent into the finish line in San Sebastian treacherous. It was a disappointing end to the day for Valverde after he appeared to have been led into the perfect position to attack in the final climb by teammate for the day Nairo Quintana. The Colombian, who finished second in the Tour de France earlier this month, drove the peloton on in the middle part of the race to catch a four-strong group that had built up an early advantage of 11 minutes.
The Movistar pair were joined by Roche, Kreuziger, Mikel Landa (Euskaltel) and Mikel Nieve (Euskaltel) as they made their second climb up Jaizkibel before Quintana dropped off into the chasing peloton. Sensing that the tricky conditions could make for a difficult final descent though, Gallopin then attacked on the final climb up to Arkale to build up an advantage of over half a minute. And he was not seriously threatened by the chasing pack as they rolled into the centre of the historic Basque city to seal his first ever World Tour victory.