Simon Gerrans Wins Bunch Sprint for Second at San Sebastian

Tue 14 Aug 2012

Simon Gerrans won the Clasica San Sebastian bunch sprint to take second in the Spanish Classic. Luis Leon Sanchez (Rabobank) slipped away from a group of around 30 riders that formed on the descent of the last climb to solo across the line for victory. Seven seconds back, Gerrans bested Gianni Meersman (Lotto Belisol) for second with the Belgian rounding out the podium.

“I’m pretty content with second place,” said Gerrans, following the podium presentation. “Obviously it would have been great to sprint for the victory instead, but San Sebastian is my first race back after taking a short break after the Olympics. I’m happy to stand on the podium as I begin the last part of my season.”

ORICA-GreenEDGE was inconspicuous during the first four hours of racing that saw a two rider escape group break away from the bunch around the 35 kilometer mark. The Spanish duo, Adrian Palomares (Andalucia) and Javier Aramendia  (Caja Rural), built up a maximum advantage of 12 minutes before the mid-point of the race. Movistar and Liquigas set a relentless tempo on the first ascent of the Jaizikbel that effectively ended the early escape.

“During the first part of the race, there wasn’t much happening that we had to be concerned about,” explained Gerrans. “We weren’t worried about the two guys off the front staying away, so we focused on conservation. We knew the last 80 kilometers would be really hard, and this is where we chose to focus our efforts.”

Gerrans was well-positioned when the winning move began to take shape over the Arkale. He was joined by Cameron Meyer when the group finally solidified on the descent.

“Basically, there were continuous attacks as we went up the final climb,” said Gerrans. “Groups would go away and come back together. The front group was constantly breaking up and reforming. I managed to survive over the final two climbs and not spend too much energy so that I would have something left for the final.”

Seven kilometers from the finish, Sanchez attacked the group and immediately gained 30 meters. Although his lead would never grow beyond 13 seconds, he managed to hold off his chasers to take the win.

“There were still plenty of guys attacking from behind who wanted to bridge across to Sanchez, but there was no organized chase to bring him back,” noted Gerrans. “When he still had a few seconds in the last three kilometers, I knew we weren’t going to catch him and that our race was for second at that point.”

“Christian Meier did a lot of work to help me in the peloton,” Gerrans added. “And Cam gave me a good lead-out in the last couple hundred meters. I’m happy to win the bunch sprint for second to finish off the team’s work.”