Gilbert will not defend in Clasica San Sebastian

Van Avermaet leads BMC in Spanish WorldTour race

The BMC Racing Team announced its roster for the Clasica Ciclista San Sebastian without defending champion Philippe Gilbert. The team will instead be led by another Belgian, Greg Van Avermaet, who was third in last year's edition. Gilbert is slated to ride in the Belgian time trial championship on August 15th before heading to the Vuelta a España.

"Greg should have cards to play," said director Rik Verbrugghe. "He has already shown he is able to do something good at this type of race."

The only Spanish one-day race on the WorldTour calendar begins with 120km of rolling roads before riders must tackle the challenging finishing circuit, which includes the Alto de Jaizkibel and the Alto de Arkale, twice. The second trip up the Jaizkibel proved decisive in past editions, with the 7.8km ascent that averages 5.84% coming with 38km to race.

The shorter, steeper Arkale with 15km to go provides further selection, while the small Alto Miracruz with 3km remaining is the final launching pad for the champion.

"If we still have Van Avermaet in the front group on the last circuit, with teammates like Lodewyck or Mauro Santambrogio, it should be a good thing for us," Verbrugghe said.

BMC Racing Team for the Clasica Ciclista San Sebastian:
Stephen Cummings, Yannick Eijssen, Klaas Lodewyck, Amael Moinard, Marco Pinotti, Mauro Santambrogio, Greg Van Avermaet, Danilo Wyss.

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