The Clasica San Sebastian, this season's 20th ProTour race, will hit it off on Saturday in the Basque country. The race will follow its traditional course through the province of Guipuzkoa and roll along scenic coastal roads before heading inland where the riders will face a series of sharp climbs. Six categorised climbs, including the Cat. 1 Alto de Jaizkibel are sure to shake things up in the peloton.
The local Euskaltel-Euskadi riders will be looking to make amends for a poor showing in the Tour de France, with Iban Mayo, Haimar Zubeldia and Aitor Gonzalez all starting. Italian classics specialists Paolo Bettini, Davide Rebellin and certainly ProTour points leader Danilo Di Luca will be motivated for the race. In total 20 teams - including four wild card continental teams - with eight riders will line up on Saturday.
German T-Mobile Team has announced a roster of classics specialists and climbers to Saturday's Clasica San Sebastian, headed by Spanish duo Paco Lara and Oscar Sevilla. "This is always a very challenging race. Due partly to the sweltering heat that usually rages there, but also because of the tough parcours," directeur sportif Frans van Looy said.
Because of the withdrawal of Alexandre Vinokourov (cold) and new dad Giuseppe Guerini, Van Looy has had to reshuffle his cards. Coming into the roster, although originally scheduled for a German event (Rund um die Hainleite) are Sergey Ivanov and Andreas Klier. "We will probably see a small lead group form [at the Alto de Jaizkibel]. We have to make sure we are alert and ready," Van Looy continued. The parcours could suit Matthias Kessler in particular. "He is a prime candidate for a good placing, as are our Spaniards," adds van Looy.
The T-Mobile roster in Spain will thus include: Sergey Ivanov, Matthias Kessler, Paco Lara, Daniele Nardello, Oscar Sevilla, Andreas Klier, Christian Werner and Steffen Wesemann.
Meanwhile, Italian team Fassa Bortolo has also announced the following roster for the Calsica San Sebastian: Mauro Facci, Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni, Massimo Giunti, Volodomir Gustov, Kim Kirchen, Vincenzo Nibali, Fabio Sacchi and Matteo Tosatto. Bruno Cenghialta will act as directeur sportif.