By Shane Stokes in San Sebastián
Following the conclusion of the Deutschland Tour this week, the latest round of the ProTour will take place on Saturday in San Sebastian, Spain. Some of the world’s best one day riders will line up against the stage race specialists in this 225 kilometre classic, which is certainly tough enough to cater for both types of professionals.
With last year’s winner Constantino Zaballa and Joaquin Rodriguez both absent from the start list, 2005 third-place finisher Eddy Mazzoleni (T-Mobile) will be chasing the top step of the podium. However there are plenty of other riders who should be in the final shakeup, not least the likes of Paolo Bettini (Quick.Step), who can shine on this type of course. Bettini can both climb and sprint, took top honours here in 2003, and therefore has the credentials to win this time round.
So too Alexandre Vinokourov, back racing and building form in the recent Deutschland Tour. He and Astana-Würth colleague Andrey Kashechkin – third in Germany – have the ability to figure, as does ProTour leader Alejandro Valverde. Valverde’s explosiveness plus his successes in Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Fleche Wallonne mark him out as a potential victor, but as this is his first race back since crashing out of the Tour de France with a broken collarbone, he is likely to be short of full fitness. However he will nevertheless attract attention due to his gleaming white ProTour jersey and his natural aggressiveness.
Cyclingnews will be covering the Clasica San Sebastian live on Saturday, August 12, starting from 15:00 local time (CEST)/9:00 EDT (USA East)/6:00 PDT (USA West)/23:00 AEST (Aust East).