Surprise Winner at San Sebastian

Sat 27 Jul 2013

Tony Gallopin (RadioShack Leopard Trek) took a solo victory in San Sebastian. Part of a lead group of 13 riders that had solidified over the Jaizkibel, Gallopin made his move the final time up the Arkale. Although the gap never swelled above one minute, it proved enough to hold off his chasers.

By the time Gallopin reached the finish, the chase group had splinted and only four riders remained in contention for the lesser podium places. Gallopin crossed the line 28” ahead of Alejandro Valverde (Movistar). The Spaniard edged out Roman Kreuziger (Saxo Tinkoff) in the four-up sprint. Simon Gerrans name was best-placed for ORICA-GreenEDGE, 3’19 behind Gallopin in 33rd place.   

Before Gallopin’s gutsy attack, a four rider breakaway dominated the early action. Olivier Kaisen (Lotto Belisol), Luca Wackermann (Lampre-Merida), Matthias Krizek (Cannondale) and Javier Francisco Aramendia (Caja Rural) opened up an 11-minute advantage over the Movistar and Euskaltel-Euskadi led peloton. The quartet’s gap tumbled in the second half of the race, and they were swept up by the reduced bunch on the second ascent of the Jaizkibel.

The pace set by Nairo Quintana (Movistar) further reduced the size of the bunch and ultimately inspired the formation of the front group that would produce the winning move. Although both Cameron Meyer and Simon Gerrans were in the peloton at the base of the Jaizkibel, they missed out on the front group selection.

“We just didn’t have the firepower when Quintana and Valverde lit it up on the Jaizkibel,” admitted Sport Director Neil Stephens. “We had Simon and Cam in the main chase group after the peloton split, but Cam had a mechanical issue, so Simon was left on his own. Simon said he felt as good as he did last year if not better but the pace up the final climb was much faster this year."

Gerrans was the runner-up in San Sebastian last year. Luis Leon Sanchez won solo while Gerrans led home the field for second place. ORICA-GreenEDGE had hoped to go one better this year.

“You can look at the result on paper, and it would be easy to feel disappointed,” said Stephens. “We had five guys that looked like they could have been at the finish. In reality, Michael Albasini was feeling ill today and Clarkey [Simon Clarke] had to do more early work than expected. Cam had a mechanical at a very unfortunate time. That brought us down from five possibilities to two possibilities before the action really heated up.”

“We’ve had some fantastic success at the race, and today we just didn’t have that luck,” Stephens continued. “We were beat by some great bike riders. Good on them for getting the job done. We’ve had a good race here in the past and hopefully we’ll build on that success in the future.”