In today’s 37th Clasica San Sebastian, Michal Kwiatkowski was part of a five-man group, four of whom had ridden the Tour de France, which had attacked from the reduced peloton on the ascent of the fearsome Murgil, the day’s last climb, before swooping back into town to contest the sprint for the line. Won with ease by the Polish rider ahead of former race winners, Tony Gallopin (2013) and defending champion Bauke Mollema, who rounded out the podium. This victory takes Kwiatkowski into second place in the WorldTour rankings and he becomes only the second rider ever to win Milan-San Remo and the Clasica in the same season. Post-race Kwiatko paid tribute to the work done by his team, particularly the crucial role of Basque rider Mikel Landa.
On a day tinged with grief, Alejandro Valverde engaged full stealth mode to claim his fourth Liege-Bastogne-Liege title to add to the fifth Fleche Wallonne he claimed five days ago. With calculated coolness, the Spaniard timed his attack on the stinger of an uphill finish into Ans to perfection (again). Stalking down a mighty attack by Dan Martin who must be wondering when his time will EVER come again, Michal Kwiatkowski rounded out the podium. History was made as Olympic champion Anna van der Breggen claimed the first-ever LBL women’s race and made a clean sweep of this year’s Ardennes classics.
Starting Ardennes Week off with a bang, Philippe Gilbert and Michal Kwiatkowski rode under the flamme rouge together with time in hand to play cat-and-mouse until PhilGil, seemingly too far back after Kwiat’s final attack, went right past the Sky rider, turned to look at him, then gave a cheeky smile and began to celebrate as he rolled over the line to take his fourth Amstel title. Third step of the podium went to Orica-Scott’s Michael Albasini.