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) TeamResult
1Luis León Sánchez (Spa) Rabobank Cycling Team5:55:34 
2Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team0:00:07 
3Gianni Meersman (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team  
4Christophe Le Mevel (Fra) Garmin - Sharp  
5Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team  
6Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) BMC Racing Team  
7Mads Christensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank - Tinkoff Bank  
8Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha Team  
9Xavier Florencio Cabre (Spa) Katusha Team  
10Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre - ISD  
11Igor Anton Hernandez (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi  
12Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin - Sharp  
13Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team  
14Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) RadioShack-Nissan  
15Rafal Majka (Pol) Team Saxo Bank - Tinkoff Bank  
16Nicholas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale  
17Daniele Ratto (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale  
18Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin - Sharp  
19Rafaél Valls Ferri (Spa) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
20Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Col) Sky Procycling  
21Jesús Hernández (Spa) Team Saxo Bank - Tinkoff Bank  
22Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky Procycling  
23Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha Team  
24Richie Porte (Aus) Sky Procycling  
25Cameron Meyer (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team  
26Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team  
27Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team  
28Tiago Machado (Por) RadioShack-Nissan0:00:11 
29Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team0:00:25 
30Cristiano Salerno (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale0:00:35 
31Mikel Astarloza Chaurreau (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi0:03:42 
32Rémi Pauriol (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat  
33Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
34Andre Fernando S. Martins Cardoso (Por) Caja Rural  
35Alexandr Vinokourov (Kaz) Astana Pro Team  
36Ivan Velasco Murillo (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi  
37Paul Martens (Ger) Rabobank Cycling Team  
38Cayetano José Sarmiento Tunarrosa (Col) Liquigas-Cannondale  
39Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre - ISD  
40Gorka Izagirre (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi  
41Simon Clarke (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team  
42Alberto Losada Alguacil (Spa) Katusha Team  
43Angel Vicioso Arcos (Spa) Katusha Team  
44Sergio Miguel Moreira Paulinho (Por) Team Saxo Bank - Tinkoff Bank  
45Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Omega Pharma-Quickstep  
46Vicente Reynes Mimo (Spa) Lotto Belisol Team0:04:52 
47Romain Sicard (Fra) Euskaltel - Euskadi  
48Hernani Broco (Por) Caja Rural  
49Yury Trofimov (Rus) Katusha Team  
50Xabier Zandio Echaide (Spa) Sky Procycling  
51Rob Ruijgh (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
52Bart De Clercq (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team  
53Tomasz Marczynski (Pol) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
54Dario Cataldo (Ita) Omega Pharma-Quickstep  
55Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Astana Pro Team  
56Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team  
57Bruno Pires (Por) Team Saxo Bank - Tinkoff Bank0:06:08 
58Winner Anacona Gomez (Col) Lampre - ISD0:08:10 
59Tiziano Dall'antonia (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale  
60Marco Pinotti (Ita) BMC Racing Team0:09:58 
61Amets Txurruka (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi  
62Arthur Vichot (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat  
63Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi  
64Amaël Moinard (Fra) BMC Racing Team  
65Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Astana Pro Team  
66Javier Moreno Bazan (Spa) Movistar Team0:11:16 
67Vladimir Karpets (Rus) Movistar Team  
68Juan Jose Cobo Acebo (Spa) Movistar Team0:12:40 
69Björn Leukemans (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team0:14:05 
70Christian Meier (Can) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team  
71José Vicente Toribio (Spa) Andalucia  
72Serge Pauwels (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quickstep  
73Volodymir Gustov (Ukr) Team Saxo Bank - Tinkoff Bank  
74Michael Rogers (Aus) Sky Procycling  
75Sergey Lagutin (Uzb) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
76Bertjan Lindeman (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
77Alexsandr Dyachenko (Kaz) Astana Pro Team  
78Adrián Palomares (Spa) Andalucia0:17:14 
79Pablo Lechuga Rodriguez (Spa) Andalucia  
80Javier Francisco Aramendia Lorente (Spa) Caja Rural  
81Andrey Zeits (Kaz) Astana Pro Team  
82Marcos Garcia (Spa) Caja Rural  
83Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team  
84Jesús Rosendo (Spa) Andalucia  
85Antonio Cabello Baena (Spa) Andalucia0:17:28 
86Javier Chacon (Spa) Andalucia  
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Rabobank Cycling Team17:46:56 
2Garmin - Sharp0:00:07 
3Katusha Team  
4Team Saxo Bank - Tinkoff Bank  
5SKY Procycling  
6Orica Greenedge0:03:42 
7Liquigas - Cannondale0:04:10 
8Lotto Belisol Team0:05:10 
9Euskaltel - Euskadi0:07:17 
10Vacansoleil - DCM Pro Cycling Team0:09:37 
11BMC Racing Team0:09:58 
12Lampre - ISD0:11:45 
13Astana Pro Team0:18:18 
14Movistar Team0:22:25 
15Omega Pharma - Quickstep  
16Caja Rural0:25:34 

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