This Saturday, Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux will participate to its first Clasica San Sebastian (1.WT, 31/07). It’s the first classic of the summer and autumn calendar for the Belgian team. A successor of Remco Evenepoel, winner in 2019, will emerge after a 224 kilometer loop around the Boulevard Helmuga in the Basque city. The edition of 2020 was cancelled because of the well-known pandemic.
Donostia Klasikoa is the Basque name of the one day race which is ridden along the Atlantic Ocean in the north of the Iberian Peninsula. The riders aren’t given much time to enjoy the nice sceneries overviewing the Bay of Biscay, because a first climb is waiting after 30km before the course is heading inlands. The first flat part offers opportunities for breakaway attempts, before tackling the remaining 190 kilometer with six categorized climbs and two intermediate sprints. In reality there are almost no flat sections so the parcours is well suited to separate the wheat from the chaff. The climbs of Jaizkibel (7.9km at 5.5% after 160km) and Erlaitz (3.9km at 10.6% after 180km) are considered as the key points on the route. After the descent of the last named climb, the riders will pass the finish line before covering an 18 kilometer lap with the Murgil climb (2.1km at 10% after 214.5km). Only 8 downhill and flat kilometers separate the top and the finish of the race.
After six participations, Jan Bakelants can be considered as an experienced rider at the Clasica San Sebastian. Having the Tour de France in the legs, the Belgian rider is hoping to do at least as good as his 11th place in 2017 and his 12th place in 2013. Also Italian climber Simone Petilli knows what’s waiting for him this Saturday. Norwegian rider Odd Christian Eiking will discover a nice play area, as he’s shown he’s capabilities on the Belgian hills at the Tour of Wallonia last week. The same counts for Quinten Hermans who made a good impression during the Tour of the Basque Country in April, showing his affinity with the region. German rider Jonas Koch and Italian rider Lorenzo Rota imitate Bakelants by pinning a number on for the first time since the Tour de France. Last but not least, Belgian rider Kévin Van Melsen completes the line up under the sportive direction of Valerio Piva.
Eiking Odd Christian
Van Melsen Kévin