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New and tougher route for San Sebastián

The peloton rides through the stunning Basque region of Spain.

The peloton rides through the stunning Basque region of Spain. (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)

The organizers of the San Sebastián Classic have toughened up the route of the Spanish one-day race that takes place on the Saturday after the Tour de France finishes (July 31). In an attempt to make the race more selective, the route now features two climbs of both the first-category Jaizkibel and second-category Arkale during the final third of the race.

To compensate for the back end of the race being substantially toughened up, the first two-thirds of the race will not feature as many climbs as has traditionally been the case. Indeed, the only categorized climbs before the first ascent of the Jaizkibel will be the third-category ascent of the Orio after 18km and the second-category Garate after 29km.

The inclusion of 20km of climbing towards the back end of the race should make for a spectacular finale. The Jaizkibel, with its stunning views out over the Bay of Biscay and towards San Sebastián in one direction and the French Basque Country in the other, is long established one of the spectacular climbs on the cycling calendar and is sure to attract even bigger crowds than normal.

This is not the first time the event's organizers have tinkered with the route of the San Sebastián Classic, which was first run in 1981. The Jaizkibel has been tackled from both sides in the past, while the Arkale is a relatively recent addition to the itinerary.

Twenty-one teams will line up for the race that was won by Quick Step's Carlos Barredo in 2009. They will comprise the 18 ProTour teams and the three offered invitations by the organizers: Cervélo, Andalucia and Xacobeo.