Team RadioShack’s highest placed finisher in the Tour de France, Haimar Zubeldia (ESP), finished 7th today in the 237-kilometer (147-mile) Clásica Ciclista San Sebastián contested in Basque country in the north of Spain. Omega Pharma Lotto’s Belgium star Philippe Gilbert continued his amazing streak this year walking away from some 20 top riders bunched at the front with about 3 kilometers to go, with the winning attack that no one could respond to.
The challenging course for the 31st edition, which remains unchanged for several years, runs through the picturesque seaside resort city from which it takes its name. Because the course requires stamina, climbing ability and finishes on a somewhat flat grind the top finishers have tended to be excellent climbers that are not uncomfortable in a sprint situation. However, with Gilbert’s dig at the end, no one had a chance to use their sprinting skills in today’s race.
The 6 categorized climbs:
Rating Avg Rise Location Name
Cat 3 4% 19 km Alto De Orio-Zudugarai
Cat 2 7.86% 31 km Alto de Garate
Cat 2 5.84% 64 km Alto de Azkarate
Cat 2 6.3% 84 km Alto de Udana
Cat 1 5.84% 200 km Alto de Jaizkibel
Cat 2 6.3% 223 km Alto de Arkale
The start list for this year’s race including most of the big names in the sport, many bringing with them their Tour de France form. So as is often the case, a top ten finish at this event carries some prestige. Haimar, who was born in Basque country and rode for Euskaltel for 10 years as a professional, is a favored son in this part of the world and was seen being interviewed by local sports channels immediately after the race. He has been one of the most consistent riders in this event finishing in 7th in 2005, 9th in 2008, 4th last year, and now 7th again. He’s sure to make that podium some day. Great ride Haimar!
The leader board for the 2011 Clásica Ciclista San Sebastián:
1. Philippe Gilbert (BEL) Omega Pharma-Lotto
2. Carlos Barredo (ESP) Rabobank
3. Greg Van Avermaet (BEL) BMC Racing
4. Joaquím (ESP) Katusha
5. Dries Devenyns (BEL) Quickstep
6. Frank Schleck (LUX) Leopard Trek
7. Haimar Zubeldia (ESP Team RadioShack
8. Samuel Sanchez (ESP) Euskaltel-Euskadi
9. Rigoberto Uran Uran (COL) Sky Procycling
10. Jelle Vanendert (BEL) Omega Pharma-Lotto
By George Hurst, staff writer