By Shane Stokes
One of the strongest fields assembled this season for a one day race will line up on Saturday in the Clásica San Sebastián in Spain. The provisional start list reads like a who's who of modern cycling, with Tour de France stars such as Michael Rasmussen (Rabobank), Systems), Cadel Evans (Davitamon-Lotto), Levi Leipheimer (Gerolsteiner), George Hincapie, Yaroslav Popovych (both Discovery Channel), Christophe Moreau and Andrei Kashechkin (Credit Agricole) all down to start.
Other big names expected are ProTour leader Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas-Bianchi), Olympic champion Paolo Bettini (Quick.Step), 2004 Tour of Italy winner Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Caffita), Tour de Suisse champ Aitor Gonzalez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner), great American hope Tom Danielson (Discovery Channel) and former world road race champion Igor Astarloa (Team Barloworld Valsir), who returned to winning ways in the Tour de Burgos.
Of course, much attention will be justifiably focused on the rider wearing dossard number 1, namely Miguel Martin Perdiguero of the Phonak Hearing Systems team. Last year the Spaniard surprised Bettini and then-World Cup leader Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner) when he won a five up sprint to take the win, with fellow Spaniards Marcos Antonio Serrano Rodriguez (Liberty Seguros) and Alberto Martinez (Relax-Bodysol) landing fourth and fifth. Basso was a handful of seconds back in sixth, one place ahead of another strong rider, Gerolsteiner's Georg Totschnig. Form permitting, Perdiguero has the right mixture of climbing ability and sprint power to challenge once more for the prize.
Cyclingnews will be providing live coverage of the Clasica San Sebastian on Saturday, starting at 3:00 pm CEST; 6:00 am PDT; 9:00 am EDT; 11:00 pm AEST