Sanchez storms San Sebastian

Spaniard stays clear to seal classic

Last Updated: 14/08/12 4:42pm

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Luis Leon Sanchez: Showed his class with a gutsy move which held on to the finish

Luis Leon Sanchez: Showed his class with a gutsy move which held on to the finish

Sky Bet

Luis Leon Sanchez saw his gamble pay off as he took a solo victory over a number of big names at Clasica San Sebastian.

The Spaniard (Rabobank) delighted his home crowd after a gutsy lone move with nine kilometres to go saw him maintain a slender advantage all the way to the beachfront finish.

An elite group formed behind, but with no team possessing a clear numerical advantage a tactical battle ensued as Sanchez, also a victor in 2010, profited up ahead.

A bunch kick at the line saw Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEDGE) and Gianni Meersman (Lotto-Belisol) round out the podium positions and collect a number of valuable WorldTour points on offer.

The race burst into life over the top of the famed Alto de Jaizkibel as the bunch split into two on the descent, further attacks on the final climb leaving around 30 riders to combine as the terrain flattened out on the run-in.

It was at the moment two groups joined together that Sanchez timed his attack, taking advantage of the lull in proceedings to carve out a gap which would never be caught.

Hard racing

The 234km classic got under way with a competing mix of one-day specialists and riders gearing up for Saturday’s Vuelta a Espana.

Adrian Palomares (Andalucia) and Francisco Aramendia (Caja Rural) opened things up and combined to go clear, pulling out a gap of 10:46 before teams began to push on behind.

The pace ramped up and the break were dragged back first time over the Jaizkibel, the catch causing a second wave of attacks with Nario Quintana (Movistar), Eros Capecchi (Liquigas-Cannondale) and Michael Rogers (Team Sky) among those to chance their arm.

With that move deemed too dangerous, one man who was able to get clear was Tiziano Dall’Antonia (Liquigas-Cannondale), Tomasz Marczynski (Vacansoleil-DCM) bridging across on the Alto de Arkale first time around.

With the main group splitting on the descent off the Jaizkibel five riders emerged with a gap, Sergio Henao (Team Sky) among those out front.

Henao set a strong pace final time over the Arkale as five became three in the move, the Colombian joined by Rafael Valls (Vacansoleil-DCM) and Rafal Majka (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank).

Behind in the bunch an attack from Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) proved to be the catalyst for an action-packed run for home which ultimately saw Sanchez prevail.

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