Luis Leon Sanchez claims second career San Sebastian victory

Spaniard times late escape to perfection

Luis León Sánchez (Rabobank) won his second San Sebastian Classic with a daring attack inside the final 10 kilometres. The 2010 winner picked up his seventh win of the year, holding off a chase group of favourites. Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge) finished second and Gianni Meersman (Lotto Belisol) third.

Sanchez made his move after the final climb of the race, seizing on a moment of hesitation as two groups merged on the descent Arkale. Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) and Richie Porte (Team Sky) led a counter attack but their aggression was nullified and although Sanchez never had more than a 13 second lead he held on for his second San Sebastian title in three years.

Sanchez has arguably enjoyed his best season to date with a stage win in this year’s Tour de France to add to wins in Paris-Nice and Romandie. Today he showed his class as a rider, tentatively following the attacks on the day’s four climbs before going it alone. His Rabobank teammates attempted to nullify any further moves from the front and left Sanchez with plenty of time to celebrate in front of the Spanish crowd.

The early stages of the race were marked by a flurry of attacks. However it wasn't until the kilometre 35 before any break was successful. The veteran Adrian Palomares joined Javier Aramendia while the bunch were content to wait for the two ascents each over the Jaizikbel and Arkale. The pair established a lead of 12 minutes but Movistar, Sky and Katusha were slowly beginning to lay down their foundations, and by the lower slopes of the Jaizikbel the lead was under a minute. Movistar, eager to lay down a marker before the start of the Vuelta created most of the destruction, dislodging passengers from the peloton until a group of 50 remained.

Palomares and Aramendia were soon reeled in and it was Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Eros Capecchi (Liquigas) who were next with a succession of attacks. Their tactics thinned out the peloton further, although Tomasz Marcynski (Vacansoleil-DCM) was able to join them. They failed to establish a lead but Liquigas weren't done yet and Tiziano Dall'Antonia was their next rider to hear the order to attack through his earpiece.

Again, Marcynski joined the move and the pair created a minute of daylight between themselves and the bunch on the descent of the Arkale. Astana, working for Alexandre Vinokourov, and Lampre, working for Damiano Cunego and to stop Liquigas, formed a chase but as they began the approach to the Jaizkibel for the second and final time, Rigoberto Uran (Sky) surged ahead. Company came briefly from Sergio Paulinho (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) however the former Tour stage winner soon sat up.

The lead group of favourites included Vinokourov, Cunego, Jurgen van den Broeck, Sanchez, Bauke Mollema, Joaquim Rodriguez, Riche Porte and Alejandro Valverde.

On the descent of the Jaizikbel the lead changed again, with Sergio Henao (Team Sky) joining Marczynski, Rafael Valls Ferri, Gorka Izagirre Insausti and Rafal Majka.

Movistar organised the chase behind, pegging the five to 15 seconds before the final climb of the race. Henao, clearly the strongest of the five, accelerated on the climb, dropping the other four as the climbers in the peloton realised that their only chance of a win was evaporating in the Spanish heat.

Rodriguez sent a teammate to the front to wind things up and near the summit the Giro runner up attacked. However he was unable to create any serious gaps, with a number of riders able to mark him on the slopes.

The Katusha leader’s attack did bring Henao back and on the descent to San Sebastian there was a reforming as two groups of riders merged on the wide run-in. Sanchez immediately saw his chance, whipping through the gears and away from the field. Porte counter attacked but he was caught by Rodriguez and Mollema. With Rabobank blocking and Sanchez strong enough to maintain his advantage all the way to the line.

Full Results

# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Luis León Sánchez (Spa) Rabobank Cycling Team 5:55:34  
2 Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team 0:00:07  
3 Gianni Meersman (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team    
4 Christophe Le Mevel (Fra) Garmin - Sharp    
5 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team    
6 Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) BMC Racing Team    
7 Mads Christensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank - Tinkoff Bank    
8 Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha Team    
9 Xavier Florencio Cabre (Spa) Katusha Team    
10 Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre - ISD    
11 Igor Anton Hernandez (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi    
12 Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin - Sharp    
13 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team    
14 Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) RadioShack-Nissan    
15 Rafal Majka (Pol) Team Saxo Bank - Tinkoff Bank    
16 Nicholas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale    
17 Daniele Ratto (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale    
18 Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin - Sharp    
19 Rafaél Valls Ferri (Spa) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team    
20 Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Col) Sky Procycling    
21 Jesús Hernández (Spa) Team Saxo Bank - Tinkoff Bank    
22 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky Procycling    
23 Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha Team    
24 Richie Porte (Aus) Sky Procycling    
25 Cameron Meyer (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team    
26 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team    
27 Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team    
28 Tiago Machado (Por) RadioShack-Nissan 0:00:11  
29 Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team 0:00:25  
30 Cristiano Salerno (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:00:35  
31 Mikel Astarloza Chaurreau (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 0:03:42  
32 Rémi Pauriol (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat    
33 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale    
34 Andre Fernando S. Martins Cardoso (Por) Caja Rural    
35 Alexandr Vinokourov (Kaz) Astana Pro Team    
36 Ivan Velasco Murillo (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi    
37 Paul Martens (Ger) Rabobank Cycling Team    
38 Cayetano José Sarmiento Tunarrosa (Col) Liquigas-Cannondale    
39 Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre - ISD    
40 Gorka Izagirre (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi    
41 Simon Clarke (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team    
42 Alberto Losada Alguacil (Spa) Katusha Team    
43 Angel Vicioso Arcos (Spa) Katusha Team    
44 Sergio Miguel Moreira Paulinho (Por) Team Saxo Bank - Tinkoff Bank    
45 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Omega Pharma-Quickstep    
46 Vicente Reynes Mimo (Spa) Lotto Belisol Team 0:04:52  
47 Romain Sicard (Fra) Euskaltel - Euskadi    
48 Hernani Broco (Por) Caja Rural    
49 Yury Trofimov (Rus) Katusha Team    
50 Xabier Zandio Echaide (Spa) Sky Procycling    
51 Rob Ruijgh (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team    
52 Bart De Clercq (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team    
53 Tomasz Marczynski (Pol) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team    
54 Dario Cataldo (Ita) Omega Pharma-Quickstep    
55 Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Astana Pro Team    
56 Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team    
57 Bruno Pires (Por) Team Saxo Bank - Tinkoff Bank 0:06:08  
58 Winner Anacona Gomez (Col) Lampre - ISD 0:08:10  
59 Tiziano Dall'antonia (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale    
60 Marco Pinotti (Ita) BMC Racing Team 0:09:58  
61 Amets Txurruka (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi    
62 Arthur Vichot (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat    
63 Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi    
64 Amaël Moinard (Fra) BMC Racing Team    
65 Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Astana Pro Team    
66 Javier Moreno Bazan (Spa) Movistar Team 0:11:16  
67 Vladimir Karpets (Rus) Movistar Team    
68 Juan Jose Cobo Acebo (Spa) Movistar Team 0:12:40  
69 Björn Leukemans (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 0:14:05  
70 Christian Meier (Can) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team    
71 José Vicente Toribio (Spa) Andalucia    
72 Serge Pauwels (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quickstep    
73 Volodymir Gustov (Ukr) Team Saxo Bank - Tinkoff Bank    
74 Michael Rogers (Aus) Sky Procycling    
75 Sergey Lagutin (Uzb) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team    
76 Bertjan Lindeman (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team    
77 Alexsandr Dyachenko (Kaz) Astana Pro Team    
78 Adrián Palomares (Spa) Andalucia 0:17:14  
79 Pablo Lechuga Rodriguez (Spa) Andalucia    
80 Javier Francisco Aramendia Lorente (Spa) Caja Rural    
81 Andrey Zeits (Kaz) Astana Pro Team    
82 Marcos Garcia (Spa) Caja Rural    
83 Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team    
84 Jesús Rosendo (Spa) Andalucia    
85 Antonio Cabello Baena (Spa) Andalucia 0:17:28  
86 Javier Chacon (Spa) Andalucia    
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Rabobank Cycling Team 17:46:56  
2 Garmin - Sharp 0:00:07  
3 Katusha Team    
4 Team Saxo Bank - Tinkoff Bank    
5 SKY Procycling    
6 Orica Greenedge 0:03:42  
7 Liquigas - Cannondale 0:04:10  
8 Lotto Belisol Team 0:05:10  
9 Euskaltel - Euskadi 0:07:17  
10 Vacansoleil - DCM Pro Cycling Team 0:09:37  
11 BMC Racing Team 0:09:58  
12 Lampre - ISD 0:11:45  
13 Astana Pro Team 0:18:18  
14 Movistar Team 0:22:25  
15 Omega Pharma - Quickstep    
16 Caja Rural 0:25:34  
17 Andalucia 0:48:19  

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