Kreuziger replaces sick Contador as captain in Clásica San Sebastián

Tinkoff-Saxo aiming for top spot in Basque race

Roman Kreuziger will head up the Tinkoff-Saxo team for the Clásica San Sebastián, stepping in for Alberto Contador who stopped his season early due to illness.

Kreuziger will be joined in the WorldTour event by Matteo Tosatto, Manuele Boaro, Jesus Hernandez, Sergio Paulinho, Pavel Brutt, Oliver Zaugg and Chris Juul-Jensen.

“Obviously, the team's main objective was for Alberto Contador to win the race and his absence will significantly change the goals and strategy of the team," director Patxi Villa said. "Alberto still has high fever and is unable to race. He also renounces the criteriums he was scheduled to attend and as a result, his 2015 racing season has come to an end.

"The race course suits Roman the most and he will be our leader for San Sebastián. He comes from a very busy season and although, ideally, we will aim for the overall win, at least we will try to be in the top spots."

Like Contador, both Kreuziger and Tosatto have raced the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France, but others are fresh from training camps or the recent Tour de Wallonie.

"Brutt and Juul-Jensen will join directly from the Tour de Wallonie, where they have delivered a strong performance on a hard parcours. As a result, we have various levels of freshness and abilities on the squad that we will seek to utilize in the best way possible to achieve a top result," Villa said.

The 219km long Clásica San Sebastián takes riders out of the Basque town, with a 100km stretch before double 40km circuits including the category 1 Alto de Jaizkibel and category 2 Alto do Arkale. It concludes with a shorter loop that takes in the Bordako Tontorra just 7km before the finish.

“Although it isn't a long one, only approximately 3 kilometers, it has an average gradient of 9 percent with segments of 22 percent. The race was decided here last year and this could likely be repeated this year as well," Villa said. "We enter this race with a motivated squad, we realize that the competition is tough and that the outcome is not easy to control in a terrain like this but we seek to create a good result for the team."

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