Tony Gallopin Soloes to Win in Clasica San Sebastian
Tony Gallopin (Radio-Shack-Leopard) has won the Clasica San Sebastian. The Frenchman jumped away from a 13-man lead group on the day’s last climb and held on to win the rugged, 232-km classic in 5:39:02. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) outsprinted Roman Kreuziger (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff) for second at 0:28.
The Clasica San Sebastian usually takes place in sunshine, but overcast greeted the riders today. In the first few km, Olivier Kaisen (Lotto-Belisol), Luca Wackermann (Lampre-Merida), Matthias Krizek (Cannondale), and Francisco Aramendia (Caja Rural) sallied off of the front. The quartet led the field by 8:45 on the Category 2 Alto de Garate (29.4 km), and the lead maxed out at 11 minutes at about 55 km. Movistar and Euskaltel-Euskadi went to the front and gradually picked up the pace.
On the first ascent of the Category 1 Jaizkibel, Aramendia was dropped. At the summit, he was 1:10 behind his erstwhile companions. At this point, with 75 km left, the bunch was 3:35 behind the break.
Several attempts were made to bridge up to the escape. On the second ascent of the Jaizkibel, Kaisen was dropped before Jose Herrada (Movistar), Juan Antonio Flecha (Vacansoleil-DCM), Matti Breschel (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff), Sylvain Chavanel and Jerome Pineau (both from Omega Pharma-Quick Step), Yannick Eijssen (BMC), and Pavel Brutt (Katusha) reached the remaining escapees.
Valverde and teammate Nairo Quintana joined the lead group. The pair then accelerated into the lead, with Quintana pacing his captain. Kreuziger and Nicolas Roche (both from Saxo Bank-Tinkoff), Mikel Landa (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Gallopin, Moreno Moser (Cannondale), Arnold Jeannesson (Francaise des Jeux), and Eijssen joined the Movistar duo. Behind, a large chase group formed that included Bauke Mollema (Belkin) and Stijn Devolder (Omega Pharma-Quick Step). Kreuziger attacked, and at the summit, the Czech led the first chase group by a few seconds, while the second chase group was at 0:40.
On the descent, Kreuziger was reeled in. A 10-rider lead group formed that included Gallopin, Valverde, Roche, Landa, Moser, Eijssen, and Jeannesson. Eventually, Mikel Astarloza and Mikel Nieve (both from Euskaltel-Euskadi), Sylvain Chavanel and Pieter Serry (both from Omega Pharma-Quick Step), and Bob Jungels (RadioShack-Leopard) joined the group. With 17 km left, the leaders had more than a minute on the chase group, which the peloton was about to catch. Two km later, at the base of the Alto Arkale, Gallopin attacked.
At the summit of the Arkale, with 15 km to go, the RadioShack-Leopard man led Roche and Landa by 0:16. Valverde led the rest of the pursuers to Roche and Landa, but Gallopin’s lead was 0:40 with 11 km remaining. A five-man chase group composed of Roche and Kreuziger (both from Saxo Bank-Tinkoff), Valverde, and Nieve and Landa (both from Euskaltel-Euskadi) set out after RadioShack-Leopard man. They cut his lead to 0:30 with eight km left, 0:25 with five km remaining, and 0:16 with three km to go. Kreuziger attacked the group, but Gallopin stayed away. Valverde, Kreuziger, Roche, and Nieve sprinted for second place, with the Movistar man beating Kreuziger for the runner-up spot.
Gallopin’s win is the biggest of his career, and it makes up for a frustrating Tour de France. “I was so tired after the Tour de France and even disappointed because I couldn’t win a stage,” the Frenchman said. “But this morning, I immediately knew that I had super good legs. I like the one-day races, but this is the first time I’ve done this race so it was really new for me. But I’m so happy. To be here on the podium with Valverde and Kreuziger means a lot to me.”
RadioShack-Leopard directeur sportif Alain Gallopin, Tony’s uncle, said that his nephew had good form coming out of the Tour de France and that form, racecraft, and teamwork were responsible for the win.
“Tony told me he had good legs on the Arkale so I told him to go. Cycling is not complicated. I think the victory is well deserved. We didn’t start with one leader as we had many, many riders in good shape… The fact that we’ve also won the Teams GC here illustrates the teamwork involved. Tony was probably the smartest guy as he didn’t waste his forces on the first climb of the Jaizkibel. Yesterday when we arrived from the airport we did a recon of that climb with Tony behind my car and he liked it. It was at that point he already showed his motivation.
"One week after the Tour you will still have good Tour shape if you rest enough. Tony just did two criteriums, and now he can forget his frustrating Tour. He crashed on the first day and in the last week he had bad luck with some mechanical problems. Today proved that you can never give up."
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