Clasica San Sebastian: Pauwels hangs tough after Anton puncture

Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) showed he had lost none of his Tour de France form by taking the victory at today’s Clasica San Sebastian. Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Soudal) finished 2nd while Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) rounded out the podium.

The 37th edition of the Clasica San Sebastian saw the cream of the Tour de France crop rise to the top once again as 4 out of the 5 riders in today’s final race winning break all finished the Tour last Sunday. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka had Serge Pauwels right up there in the mix, with our Belgian bridging across to a dangerous 10 rider move with 30km to go. Unfortunately this break would be caught before the final climb of the day.

Onto the final climb, which started after 224km had already been race, and it was Mikel Landa who surged clear. Gallopin followed immediately, Mollema was next and finally Kwiatkowski and Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) also set off. The reduced peloton that contained Pauwels hung on as best they could but they could not match the 5 aggressors on the 20% gradient slopes.

The quintet came together on the final 7km decent to the line and they would not be caught. A tactical attack by Landa in the final 2km meant Kwiatkowski could just follow the wheels of the other 3 riders until Landa was brought back, and then launched his unbeatable sprint to take a fine win. Just over a minute down, Pauwels crossed the line as our best in 27th.

Bingen Fernandez – Sport Director
A break of 7 riders went in the first part of the race. From there we focused on protecting Serge and waited for the final kilometers. In the selection after Jaizkibel we had Serge, Merhawi Kudus and Igor Anton.  Igor had a flat and had to spend more energy than expected before the last climb. In the final climb it was all was about the legs. From there our guys gave everything until the finish.