Clasica San Sebastian 2018: Alaphilippe swaggers to victory

There was a constellation of stars taking part in the 38th edition of La Clasica San Sebastian which is generally won by a rider exiting the Tour de France in particularly fine fettle. This year was no exception. Bauke Mollema countered an attack just before the summit of the final climb, Julian Alaphilippe followed and thereafter two descended like stones to contend the sprint for the line. Alaphilippe lead it out but Molema didn’t have the same turn of speed as the Frenchman. The podium was rounded out by Antony Roux, best of the rest, in his tricolour jersey.

Rider of the race

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Well, what can I say. Qué Panache! We’re running out of superlatives at VeloVoices when it comes to Julian Alaphilippe. He’s on fire, taking his eighth victory of the season. Following on from his win at Fleche Wallonne in the spring, he won two stages in the Tour de France and the KOM jersey and, with this victory, is cementing his reputation as one of the most versatile riders in the peloton. In addition, he’s only the second rider in history to win the Tour’s KOM jersey and La Clasica in the same season.

Alaphilippe wisely wasn’t seen until the pointy end of the race which, as usual, had been dominated by a number of abortive escapes. The turning point came on the insane gradients of Murgil Tontorra when, Jumbo Bee Antwan Tolhoek (Best Young Rider) attacked and was quickly followed by Rudy Molard (Groupama-FDJ). Bauke Mollema countered and Alaphilippe said his legs were feeling good and he decided to go too. With around 8km to go, the two crested the climb, quickly built a winning 30-second advantage and worked together until the final kilometre. Alaphilippe led onto the Boulevard and easily outpaced Mollema. French champion Anthony Roux led the small chasing group over the line 16 seconds later.

That’s 36 out of 38 now!

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I can’t be sure but it looks as if Angryphilippe’s got a cheeky tilt to his txapala – it should be worn dead straight – but we’ll forgive him.

Post-race, the winner paid credit to his teammates and thanked Mollema for working with him. Good news for the rest of the peloton, he’s racing three more crits and then taking a (well-earned) vacation.

Indeed, credit to Bauke Mollema who’s finished on the podium in the last three editions, last winning it in 2016. He always relishes racing in the Basque country and is popular with local fans who, as usual, were out in force today encouraging everyone.

Finally let’s spare a thought for Sky’s Egan Bernal and Movistarlet Mikel Landa whose race ended up with a trip to hospital after a multiple pile-up just under 20km from the finish which caught out a number of riders, including some other favourites. Reports are that Bernal has suffered a ‘serious facial trauma’ and is having scans to ascertain the damage and Landa is suffering some back pain. We hope you both heal up quickly!

Final result

1 Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) 6:03:45

2 Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) same time

3 Anthony Roux (Groupama-FDJ) +0:16

4 Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) s/t

5 Julien Simon (Cofidis) s/t

Other prizes

Intermediate Sprints: Cyril Barthe (Euskadi-Murias)

KOM: Cyril Barthe (Euskadi-Murias)

Most Combative: Cyril Barthe (Euskadi-Murias)

Best Basque: Ion Izagirre (Bahrain-Merida)

Best Young Rider: Antwan Tolhoek (LottoNL-Jumbo)

Best Team: LottoNL-Jumbo

Link: Full race report Cyclingnews

Header: ©GETTY/Velo/Amaia Zabalo

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