Complete Live Report
Live coverage of the Clasica San Sebastian.
- 65km remaining from 234km
As we pick up the action, there is a four-man break up the road with a lead of 3:55 over the Euskaltel-Euskadi-led peloton.
Brazilian champion Murilo Fischer (Garmin-Cervelo), Karsten Kroon (BMC), Klaas Lodewyck (Omega Pharma-Lotto) and Julian Sanchez Pimienta (Caja Rural) are the survivors from the day's early break, which formed just 12km into the race.
Irish champion Matt Brammeier (HTC-Highroad) has just made it back up to the break. He was dropped on the first ascension of the Jaizkibel, but he has done very well to get back on here.
Irish champion Matt Brammeier (HTC-Highroad) and Eloy Ruiz (Andalucia Caja Rural) were also part of the early break, but they were dropped on the first ascension of the Jaizkibel. Brammeier was chasing hard on the descent, but it doesn't look as though he is going to make it back on.
- 57km remaining from 234km
Lampre-ISD are leading the pursuit in the peloton now as the break hits the slopes of the Alto de Arkale (2.7km at 6.3%) for the first time. They will loop back around to tackle the Jaizkibel and the Arkale a second time before the finish in San Sebastian.
Movistar are also contributing to the pursuit behind and the gap to the leaders is tumbling accordingly. 2:45 is the margin as Karsten Kroon leads the break on the lower slopes of the climb.
Andriy Grivko (Astana) attacks from the peloton on the Arkale and sets off in lone pursuit of the escapees.
Grivko crosses the summit 2:25 down on the break.
It's easily known Euskaltel-Euskadi are racing on home roads today. There is no shortage of orange on the roadsides and the Basque team are prominent towards the front of the peloton in support of Samuel Sanchez.
Gorazd Stangelj (Astana) is caught in the no-man's land between the peloton and the break, but he doesn't seem to be making significant inroads into their lead.
- 48km remaining from 234km
And then there were three. Julian Sanchez Pimienta was losing contact over the Arkale and he is no longer with the leading group.
As the race heads towards the Jaizkibel for the second time, Samuel Sanchez moves up towards the front of the peloton.
- 45km remaining from 234km
On the lower slopes of the climb, the three up front are setting a sensible pace, but the speed is rising behind...
Lodewyck has been dropped by Kroon and Fischer. It's been a long day out in front for him. The group had a maximum lead of 10 minutes, but that advantage has been slashed over the last 50km. The peloton is two minutes back and closing.
Vladimir Karpets (Katusha) is putting in an impressive stint of pace-setting at the head of the peloton on the Jaizkibel. One of the favourites is bound to try and force the issue before they get to the top of the climb.
Nicolas Roche (Ag2r-La Mondiale) attacks out of the peloton. He hasn't opened a huge gap, but he is looking quite comfortable.
Jerome Pineau (Quick Step) leads the chase with Sylvain Chavanel on his wheel. Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) and Damiano Cunego are also lurking with intent.
- 42km remaining from 234km
Roche is pegged back, while Lodewyck is swallowed up by the peloton. Kroon and Fischer are the only riders left up the road.
Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) rips clear of the peloton. His team had been very keen to help in the pursuit of the break and it's clear why. The Spaniard is pedalling with great fluidity on this gradient.
Carlos Barredo (Rabobank) is concerned about the lack of reaction from the peloton and he's gone on the attack to try and bridge across to the flying Sanchez.
Up front, Kroon leads Fischer, but the pair must know that they are being pegged back.
- 40.5km remaining from 234km
Samuel Sanchez makes it across to the two leaders with a little over 40km to race, while Barredo is also closing rapidly.
Kroon and Fischer can't follow the pace and Sanchez is alone up front. He might have some company soon, however, Philippe Gilbert has put in an acceleration behind and he has Frank Schleck and Joaquin Rodriguez for company.
Frank Schleck and Gilbert make it across to Sanchez, and they have brought a group of around ten riders with them. Rodriguez, Simone Ponzi (Liquigas-Cannondale), Roche, Haimar Zubeldia (RadioShack) are among them.
- 38km remaining from 234km
Samuel Sanchez attacks again, and opens a small gap in the company of Belgian duo Dries Devenyns (Quick Step) and Jelle Vanendert (Omega Pharma-Lotto).
- 37.5km remaining from 234km
The trio have a lead of just 7 seconds over the top of the Jaizkibel, and it looks as though a lead group of around 15 riders will form on the descent.
The favourites have come back together on the descent, but it appears as though Damiano Cunego is absent from their number.
- 32km remaining from 234km
The Jaizkibel might have ended the hopes of the day's early break, but it doesn't seem to have been as selective as some of the favourites might have liked. There is a sizeable group chasing the leaders, it might all come back together before the final climb of the Arkale.
The two groups in front have merged on the sweeping descent of the Jaizkibel, and there is now a small peloton of about 30 riders at the head of the race. All of the favourites appear to be in there.
- 27km remaining from 234km
Eduard Voganov (Katusha) has made a number of attempts to slip clear at the base of this descent, but so far he hasn't succeeded in opening a gap. French champion Sylvain Chavanel (Quick Step) is especially vigilant and wise to Vorganov's moves.
- 26km remaining from 234km
Stijn Devolder (Vacansoleil-DCM) jumps clear in the streets of Irun but he surely won't get far. There are still 8km to the foot of the final climb of the Arkale.
- 23km remaining from 234km
This is a decent effort from Devolder. The mercurial Belgian has been struggling for form all season, but he sensed the lull in the break here and he is powering clear. He has opened out a gap of 26 seconds and they'll need to be careful to try and organise their pursuit behind quickly.
Devolder's lead stretches out to 35 seconds and there is no real cohesion to the chase behind, with the group constantly fragmenting and reforming.
Philippe Gilbert senses the danger and he is trying to bring a small and more unified chase group clear to whittle down Devolder's advantage.
Vorganov, Greg Van Avermaet (BMC), Dries Devenyns and Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale) are among the riders who have come across with Gilbert. If they can work together, they should be able to peg Devolder back before the final climb.
Devolder approaches the foot of the Arkale with a lead of 25 seconds over the Gilbert group. Basso puts in a long turn on the front, and it appears as though the group is finding its rhythm.
Mathias Frank, Jakob Fuglsang and Jelle Vanendert are also in that group stalking Devolder.
Vanendert attacks on the slopes of the Arkale and is rapidly closing the gap to Vanendert. Haimar Zubeldia chases hard behind.
Vanendert attacks on the slopes of the Arkale and is rapidly closing the gap to Devolder. Haimar Zubeldia chases hard behind.
First Vanendert and then Zubeldia makes it across to Devolder. There are three men in front, but Carlos Barredo is driving the rest of the chasers a little further back.
- 15km remaining from 234km
Vanendert and Zubeldia lead over the top of the Arkale, but their gap over the fragmented chase group is only a handful seconds. It could all come back together on the run-in to San Sebastian, and it's worth noting that fast man Jose Joaquin Rojas is lurking with intent.
Rojas was in the third group going over the climb, no more than 20 seconds off the front of the race, and the leaders certainly won't want him getting back on.
Vanendert and Zubeldia have been swept up by an elite group including Gilbert, Sanchez, Basso, Uran, Chavanel and Barredo.
- 9km remaining from 234km
There are ten riders in front after the descent from the Arkale - Gilbert, Vanendert, Devenyns, Sanchez, Joaquim Rodriguez, Carlos Barredo, Van Avermaet, Zubeldia, Rigoberto Uran and Frank Schleck.
There are still a number of small chase groups that are almost within touching distance of one another. It's quite a chaotic finale here, and if somebody jumps clear, they might well be able to take advantage of a disorganised pursuit behind.
- 7.5km remaining from 234km
Carlos Barredo (Rabobank) senses the opportunity and makes his move, instantly opening a sizeable gap.
- 6km remaining from 234km
Vanendert puts in a huge dig in the service of Gilbert, however, and Barredo's advantage is pegged back to just 5 seconds.
Barredo isn't giving up, however, and he is resolutely continuing to play his hand.
In the chase group, Frank Schleck looks back at Philippe Gilbert. Nobody wants to give the season's foremost one-day rider an armchair ride into San Sebastian.
- 4km remaining from 234km
The hesitation among the chasers sees Barredo's lead stretch out again to 8 seconds.
- 3.5km remaining from 234km
Gilbert attacks out of the chase group and goes over the top of Barredo. Frank Schleck tried to close but he couldn't and the Belgian could well be riding to yet another big win here.
- 3km remaining from 234km
Gilbert leads and Zubeldia accelerates to try and chase him down alone.
- 2km remaining from 234km
Samuel Sanchez comes across to Zubeldia and the Spanish duo are combining forces to try and close the gap to Gilbert.
- 1.5km remaining from 234km
Gilbert's advantage is 11 seconds and it doesn't look as though Sanchez and Zubeldia can do a thing to bring him back.
- 1km remaining from 234km
Under the red kite, Carlos Barredo attacks from the chase group, but it doesn't look as though anyone can stop Gilbert.
Gilbert enters the finishing straight and he even has time to sit up and salute the gathered multitudes, an emphatic win for the Belgian.
Barredo cross the line in second place 11 seconds back, just ahead of the sprint for third, which is won by Greg Van Avermaet.
It all seemed very complicated on the way down off the Jaizkibel, with the leading group constantly splintering and reforming, but in the end it was all devastatingly straightforward. Philippe Gilbert had an extra gear to everybody else, and he made his move at precisely the right time to continue his magical 2011.
1 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto 5:48:52
2 Carlos Barredo Llamazales (Spa) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:00:12
3 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team 0:00:14
4 Joaquím Rodríguez (Spa) Katusha Team
5 Dries Devenyns (Bel) Quickstep Cycling Team
6 Fränk Schleck (Lux) Leopard Trek
7 Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) Team RadioShack
8 Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
9 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky Procycling
10 Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto 0:00:50