Route details of the new La Clasica San Sebastian Femenina have emerged on social media, and if accurate, point to a race that will be much more challenging than previously anticipated. The race will take place on August 3, in conjunction with the men's WorldTour event, and includes many of the same brutally steep climbs.
Organisers of the men's Clásica Ciclista San Sebastián, Ciclistas Euskadi-OCETA, announced last July that they intended to promote a women's race in 2019. The organisation made the announcement at the San Sebastián City Council as part of the official presentation ahead of the men's race won by Julian Alaphilippe. Organisers said that the overall goal was to eventually build the new women's race to the highest level, aiming to become part of the Women's WorldTour.
"Euskadi-OCETA wants to promote the La Clásica San Sebastián Femenina, which is possible to become a reality in 2019," organisers stated at the time. "The objective is, on the one hand, to encourage and promote women's cycling at a high level and base; and, on the other hand, promote equality and equity in sports."
An image of the course profile shows the women's race at 148km with a pass through Zarautz at 23kms. Initial reports had suggested that the Alto de Jaizkibel ascent would not be included in the women's race, but it is shown as part of the profile that has been shared on social media. Jaizkibel is 7.5km with an average grade of 5.9 per cent. It would peak at the 81.4km mark.
The race then appears to head toward the Alto de Arkale that is 2.6km at 6.7 per cent grade, located at the 103km mark, and then the women will race twice up the Murgil Tontorra. The final climb up Murgil is 1.9km but with an average grade of 10.2 per cent and peaks at the 139.6km mark, just 10km from the finish line. The race then drops down a steep descent and back into San Sebastian.
Current Women's WorldTour leader Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott) commented on the potential route, which keeps much of the traditional aspects of the men's course, in a post on Twitter. "Love it when they design a similar type of race for the women. First time this race will be organised for women. Love to race in Pais Vasco so I will be there!"