July 31, 2014 – With barely enough time to catch their breath many riders that just wrapped up the Tour de France will be heading to the next major destination on the World Tour, the Clasica Ciclista San Sebastian, a 219.2km one-day race on Saturday, August 2nd.
Image: Yuzuru Sunada
Featuring six climbs it was Tony Gallopin using the final climb 15km from the finish to launch a solo bid for victory last season. It was a performance that surprised many and has now been confirmed with his 2104 Tour de France. One of the lesser known classics it has always produced great racing, favoring punchy riders that aren’t afraid to go alone. Luis Leon Sanchez (’12,’10), Philippe Gilbert (’11) and Alejandro Valverde (’08) are among recent winners. A new finishing circuit in San Sebastian with a short, steep climb may mute the attacks typically seen on the two final climbs, the Jaizkibel and the Arkale.
Gallopin will be back to defend his title as will former winner Gilbert and Valverde. The American contingent will be incredibly strong with Tejay van Garderen and Peter Stetina hoping to parlay Tour form into a big result. Look for new Giant-Shimano rider, Lawson Craddock, to impress as well. He has proven he can race with the best in the world in California and Colorado and the parcours of San Sebastian are a perfect fit for his abilities.
With a stellar Tour de France under their belts despite the loss of Mark Canvedish on stage 1, Omega Pharma – Quick Step is looking to continue its success in San Sebastian.
“We have a good team going there, where only Carlos Verona and Julien Vermote came out from a long break,” Sport Director Brian Holm said. “The rest of the guys are the ones who were busy with Tour de Wallonie or even the Tour de France, such as Jan Bakelants and Michal Golas. We will also have Gianni Meersman who can do well on this kind of parcours if it comes down to a sprint out of a small group. The race profile should suit almost all of our guys who will be there, so we have good representation and will do our best for a good result.”
Pieter Serry of Belgium was Omega Pharma – Quick Step’s top finisher last year in 8th and will once again be on the start line, although Stybar and Bakelants are likely its best hopes for victory.
Omega Pharma – Quick Step Riders
Julian Alaphilippe (FRA)
Jan Bakelants (BEL)
Michal Golas (POL)
Gianni Meersman (BEL)
Pieter Serry (BEL)
Zdenek Stybar (CZE)
Julien Vermote (BEL)
Carlos Verona (ESP)
Brian Holm (DEN)