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Clasica Ciclista San Sebastian: 234km

Complete Live Report

Live commentary by:
Mark Robinson

Welcome to our live coverage of the final stages of the 2012 Clásica de San Sebastián. This one day race in the north of Spain is seen as a key warm-up for some of the riders tackling the Vuelta a Espana, which starts at the weekend, but is a prestigious WorldTour race in its own right.

  1. 124km remaining from 234km

    13:24:03 BST

    We join proceedings as the riders approach the halfway point in the race. We have a leading duo, who have broken clear of the main peloton and are just over six minutes clear.

  2. 13:28:27 BST

    The local fans will be happy as the breakaway riders are both Spaniards. The veteran Adrian Palomares is alongside Javier Aramendia and both are also employed by home-based teams.

  3. 13:30:22 BST

    The riders have already tackled a category 2 and a category 3 climb today. There are four more cataegorised climbs to come, including a pair of category 1s. All four of these occur in the last 80km of the race.

  4. 13:32:50 BST

    The biggest gap that these two established was 12 minutes. In the last 40km that has halved as the peloton tries to reel them in.

  5. 13:34:01 BST

    Temperatures are now up to 32 degrees Celsius. Tough conditions for the riders out there.

  6. 13:40:12 BST

    Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) won the Clasica San Sebastian for the first time.

    Last year's race was won by Philippe Gilbert, though the BMC man is not present to defend his crown (or should we say sombrero) this time round.

  7. 110km remaining from 234km

    13:41:07 BST

    The gap is now down to just over five minutes...

  8. 13:43:36 BST

    • Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team's 2012 Jersey

    Away from today's race, things are building nicely towards the Vuelta, which starts in Pamplona on Saturday. Team news is filtering through every day. Orica-GreenEdge have revealed their squad this morning and there's a few surprises in it. Find out who has made their team right here.

  9. 13:47:54 BST

    Luis León Sánchez (Caisse d'Epargne) wins the Clasica San Sebastian 2010.

    Today's race always has a strong contingent of Spaniards. This year is no different. Luis Leon Sanchez (Rabobank), Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) all started this morning. Valverde (2008) and Leon Sanchez (2010, pictured) are both former winners. Full start list is available right here.

  10. 13:49:16 BST

    • Movistar Team's 2012 Jersey

    Movistar look to be doing most of the work at the front of the peloton. Setting the pace for Valverde. Gap remains just over five minutes.

  11. 13:53:42 BST

    The two category 1 climbs this afternoon are ascents of the fearsome Jaizikbel. The second of these has often been a turning point in past editions of this race. They will tackle it for the first time with 77km left and for the second time with 38km to go. With a maximum gradient of 8.5%, it's a huge test for the climbers.

  12. 13:56:56 BST

    Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) remains in third place overall after stage 14

    Away from the race, the transfer season got underway on August 1st and plenty of moves have already been made. The biggest move so far has seen Vincenzo Nibali swap Liquigas for Astana, but you can keep track of all the major moves so far right here.

  13. 98km remaining from 234km

    13:58:36 BST

    Less than 100km to go now. The gap between the two leaders and the peloton is four-and-a-half minutes...

  14. 14:00:43 BST

    Are you having withdrawal symptoms because of the end of the Olympics? Relieve them temporarily by having a look through our gallery of the best moments from the cycling events.

  15. 14:03:42 BST

    These two leaders attacked and broke clear at the 35km mark this morning. They have been out in front for over 100km now.

  16. 90km remaining from 234km

    14:09:09 BST

    The leaders are now approaching the bottom of the Jaizikbel  for the first time. They have 12km of pain ahead of them before they reach the summit. How will it change the race? Will they be caught?

  17. 14:14:45 BST

    And Aramedia and Palomares are on the climb...

  18. 14:18:45 BST

    Aramendia is a decent climber but only has one minor race win to his name. That came when he was a teenager. Palomares has seven stage wins in his long career, including one at this year's Tour of Chile.

  19. 14:20:10 BST

    And the peloton are closing rapidly on the leading pair. They have shaved almost three minutes off the gap in the opening stages of the climb...

  20. 14:21:45 BST

    • Movistar Team's 2012 Jersey

    It's Movistar who have done most of the damage here...

  21. 14:24:34 BST

    They are relentless in their chase. The leading duo are in their sights and the peloton is only 20 seconds behind them...

  22. 14:27:00 BST

    • Liquigas-Cannondale's 2012 Jersey

    Liquigas also prominent at the front of the peloton as they surge up this climb...

  23. 80km remaining from 234km

    14:33:12 BST

    • Attack

    Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Eros Capecchi (Liquigas) make an attack but are rapidly countered by Michael Rogers (Sky). The two leaders have been swallowed up and the peloton is together with 2.5km of this climb to go.

  24. 14:35:07 BST

    And as they head to the top, Quintana and Capecchi attack again. Can they make it stick this time? Looks like they have about 8 seconds on the pack...

  25. 14:40:22 BST

    • Break

    And it looks like the attack has stuck, and we have a third member of the latest breakaway. Tomasz Marcynski (Vacansoleil) has joined Quintana and Capecchi and they are already over the top of the climb. They appear to be about 30 seconds clear of the pack, just waiting on official confirmation.

  26. 70km remaining from 234km

    14:44:02 BST

    The main peloton is also over the climb and the entire field is now motoring downhill. At the front of the chasers is Olympic road race champion Alexander Vinokourov (Astana, pictured). This is reportedly his last race before he retires.

  27. 14:45:40 BST

    And the chasers are catching this leading trio quickly on the descent...

  28. 14:51:29 BST

    And we have another attack. It's a Liquigas rider, but not Capecchi. It's Tiziano Dall'Antonia. He's built up a lead of over 30 seconds.

  29. 60km remaining from 234km

    14:53:24 BST

    60km to go now. A chase group has broken away from the main peloton in pursuit of Dall'Antonia. Just awaiting details...

  30. 14:56:35 BST

    Looks like there are 11 riders in the chase group. Vinokourov and Robert Gesink are in there. Still trying to confirm exact details...

  31. 14:58:29 BST

    Dall'Antonia is now on the next climb. It's a category 2, the Alto de Arkale.

  32. 15:01:22 BST

    And Dall'Antonia is over the climb. He's been joined by Marcczynski at the front...

  33. 15:02:11 BST

    Peloton is bunching up again behind these two leaders...

  34. 15:04:24 BST

    The leading duo are now almost a minute clear of the peloton. One more ascent of the Jaizikbel and the Alto de Arkale to come.

  35. 50km remaining from 234km

    15:05:46 BST

    We're entering the last 50km now. Just over an hour of racing left to go...

  36. 15:08:59 BST

    He's from Florida, but Andrew Talansky was happy to be in California.

    In more Vuelta news, we caught up with Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp) for an exclusive chat. He warmed up for the Vuelta by winning the Tour de L'Ain, the first stage race win of his career. Find out what he had to say about it right here.

  37. 15:10:36 BST

    Gap is now under 30 seconds. It's Astana and Lampre who are on the front of the peloton doing the work at this point.

  38. 45km remaining from 234km

    15:16:10 BST

    And they're about to tackle the Jaizkibel for the second and final time. Gap is down to 15 seconds. Rigoberto Uran (Sky) moves to the front of the peloton for the first time...

  39. 15:17:49 BST

    And the leaders have been swallowed up. Peloton is together again now on the climb. Whon will attack? Nicolas Roche also makes his first appearance near the front...

  40. 15:20:35 BST

    And Marczynski goes again. This time he has Paulinho (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) for company. Tiralongo, Valverde, Uran and Vinokourov all near the front of the chasing peloton.

  41. 15:21:26 BST

    Lots of fans out on this section of the course...

  42. 15:23:46 BST

    Paulinho has decided it's a mistake to try and break clear at this stage. He's gone back to the pack.

  43. 15:25:20 BST

    ABANDONMENT: Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Lotto-Belisol) has retired from the race

  44. 40km remaining from 234km

    15:26:57 BST

    • Rabobank Cycling Team's 2012 Jersey

    Rabobank increasing the pace slightly in behind. Luis Leon Sanchez and Robert Gesink moving to the front of the peloton.

  45. 15:29:06 BST

    Riders are about 2km from the summit of the climb now. All to play for here. Excitement building as some big names queue up in behind plotting their moves...

  46. 15:31:55 BST

    And that's it - over the top of the Jaizkibel for the final time. Bit of a plateau now before the descent and then the final category 2 climb.

  47. 15:33:07 BST

    Riders hitting speeds of over 75km/h on this descent...

  48. 32km remaining from 234km

    15:36:01 BST

    Amazing views of the city of San Sebastian here as the riders enter the final 30km. Gorgeous summer afternoon in northern Spain.

  49. 15:37:36 BST

    Looks like we now have a leading bunch of about five riders on this descent. Waiting for confirmation...

  50. 15:44:05 BST

    Izaguirre (Euskaltel), Henao (Sky) and Marczynski are in this leading quintet. There's a Saxo Bank rider in there too and another Vacansoleil rider...

  51. 23km remaining from 234km

    15:45:10 BST

    Henao helping out Izaguirre with some fluid there...

  52. 15:46:38 BST

    Not too far off this final category 2 climb now. Still the chasing pelton is biding its time. Gap is under 20 seconds...

  53. 15:48:44 BST

    • Movistar Team's 2012 Jersey

    Movistar back working hard at the front. They've done a lot of the donkey work today. They have a very strong team here today. Valverde, Cobo, Moreno and Visconti all capable of winning.

  54. 20km remaining from 234km

    15:51:06 BST

    Gap is holding steady here with under 20km to go...

  55. 15:53:08 BST

    On the final climb now. This is where things should unfold. Peak will be reached in 3km...

  56. 15:56:27 BST

    No real attack yet from the chasers. Gap is coming down moderately on the climb...

  57. 15:58:48 BST

    And Henao has dropped the other four leaders and is out on his own in front...

  58. 15km remaining from 234km

    16:00:03 BST

    Uran, Mollema, Ullisi, Rodriguez, Van Avermaet all go in pursuit of Henao...

  59. 10km remaining from 234km

    16:03:32 BST

    We have two big groups now coming together. About 30 riders in total...

  60. 16:04:37 BST

    Henao. Valverde, Henao, Urán, Mollema, Ullisi, Rafal Majka, Daniel Martin and Van Avermaet all up there at the front. Luis Leon Sanchez also lurking dangerously.

  61. 16:05:11 BST

    Numerous attacks probable here in the last few kilometres...

  62. 16:06:37 BST

    Richie Porte (Sky), Bauke Mollema and Luis Leon Sanchez (Rabobank) and Joaquim Rodriguez have attacked...

  63. 16:07:42 BST

    • Rabobank Cycling Team's 2012 Jersey

    It's Sanchez who is a few metres clear of the other three with 7km to go. Mollema's role could be tactical here...

  64. 16:08:56 BST

    Sanchez is now a good 30 metres clear. The others have caught up with the chasers. Has Sanchez gone too early?

  65. 16:09:42 BST

    Less than 5km to go for Sanchez. Can he hang on for the win?

  66. 16:10:01 BST

    He has a gap of about 11 seconds...

  67. 16:10:53 BST

    He's looking comfortable as he enters the last 4km...

  68. 3km remaining from 234km

    16:12:18 BST

    Sanchez is almost through the slight incline here. If he reaches it in tact then he looks set for the win...

  69. 16:12:58 BST

    No sense of urgency in the chase group here. How much do they have left? And have they left it too late?

  70. 16:13:32 BST

    Ten second lead with 2km to go...

  71. 16:14:13 BST

    Sanchez looking good for his second win here in three seasons...

  72. 16:14:41 BST

    He's inside the last kilometre, which stretches out along the seafront...

  73. 16:16:17 BST

    • Rabobank Cycling Team's 2012 Jersey

    SANCHEZ WINS IN A TIME OF 5:55:30

  74. 16:16:44 BST

    Seventh win of the year for the Spaniard, who sends the home crowd into raptures

  75. 16:18:25 BST

    Seven is the lucky number today - it's the seventh Spanish victory in the last nine stagings of the race

  76. 16:19:14 BST

    Looks like Meersman (Lotto-Belisol) in second and Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge) in third. Awaiting confirmation...

  77. 16:24:38 BST

    TOP THREE FINISHERS (TBC)

    1 Luis Leon Sanchez (Rabobank) 05:55:30

    2 Gianni Meersman (Lotto-Belisol) 05:55:36

    3 Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge) 05:55:36

  78. 16:30:07 BST

    OFFICIAL TOP FIVE FINISHERS:

     

    1 Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Rabobank Cycling Team
    2 Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team
    3 Gianni Meersman (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team
    4 Christophe Le Mevel (Fra) Garmin - Sharp
    5 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team

  79. 16:32:40 BST

    Luis Leon Sanchez (Rabobank)

    So a combination of a daring attack by Luis Leon Sanchez inside the final 10km and a lack of dominance by any single team conspired to deliver the Spaniard to his seventh win of the season and his second in San Sebastian in the last three years. Sanchez picked his moment to perfection, waiting until after the final climb and pouncing on some hesitation between his rivals as the peloton regrouped.

     

    Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge) showed a welcome return to form by pipping Gianni Meersman into second place. After a barren run of late he has recaptured the rhythm that saw him win the Tour Down Under and Milan San Remo earlier in the season.

     

    We'll have full results, reaction and photos right here as we get them. Join us on Saturday for our live coverage of the opening stage of the 2012 Vuelta a Espana.