Yates misses out on the final move on tough day in the Basque Country

Sat 29 Jul 2017

Always a hard race, today’s Clasica Ciclista San Sebastian proved to be no different as explosive attacks split the race on the final climb with Simon Yates caught just the wrong side of the race-winning move.

ORICA-SCOTT rode a tactically astute race and contributed to the catch of the early breakaway at the right time, all the while looking after the Tour de France's best young rider within the peloton.

As the late attacks broke into the final 20kilometres it was Tour of Belgium winner Jens Keukeleire shepherding Yates onto the final climb in a good position. However when the attacks came, they were blistering.

First Mikel Landa (Team-Sky) split the favourites group and created a gap over the top of the climb, Landa was followed by teammate Michael Kwiatkowski and three others with Yates caught on the wrong side of the split.

Kwiatkowski went on to take the victory with Yates sprinting out of the chasing group, but finishing outside the top ten in 18th place.

“It was a really hard and tricky race today,” said sport director Neil Stephens. “We came into the race well prepared and highly motivated and we were content to let the early breakaway go, before we got involved with bringing things back together with Svein Tuft doing a great job on the front.”

“Once the race came back together the pace was really high and along with a lot of other teams we had to adjust. Roman Kreuziger did very well marshalling the late attacks and Jens brought Simon onto the final climb up there with the other favourites.

“It was a great job by the team, but we just missed out on that final move on the climb. Those last attacks were devastating and completely split the favourites group, Simon chased hard, but it wasn’t to be. He goes into a very well earned break now and we will look ahead to the next races.”

How it happened:

A sunny morning on the picturesque coast of the Basque country welcomed the riders to the start line and a fast first hour of racing ensued with a group of seven forming the breakaway and quickly gaining a four-minute advantage over the first 50kilometres.

Past the halfway point and the gap was holding at four minutes with the leaders continuing to work well together.

Veteran powerhouse Tuft increased the pace at the head of the peloton for ORICA-SCOTT with 80kilometres and two ascents of the first category Jaizkibel to come, instantly shaving over a minute off the leaders advantage.

Tuft continued to rotate with Team-Sky and Lotto-Soudal on the front as the race approached the final 60kilometres as the lead group started to split on the Jaizkibel with the gap at one-minute 30seconds.

The last of the leaders were caught with 55kilometres remaining as Team-Sky set the pace at the head of the reducing peloton.

Tentative attacks started to spring on the rolling roads with 30kilometres to go and a new group formed at the front with 15riders gaining a brief advantage before being brought back inside the final 20kilometres.

Gianni Moscon (Team-Sky) was the last rider to be caught as the race hit the final climb with Yates sitting second wheel and delivered into position by Keukeleire.

Explosive attacks followed on the climb Landa split the favourites group and pushed on over the top followed by Kwiatkowski and three others.

The five lead into the final straight before Team-Sky executed a one two attack with Kwiatkowski taking the win and Yates crossing the line a few seconds later, sprinting out of the chasing group into 18th place.

Clasica Ciclista San Sebastian results:

1. Michael Kwiatkowski (Team-Sky) 05:52:53

2. Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Soudal) ST

3. Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) ST

18. Simon Yates (ORICA-SCOTT) 00:00:38

Photos courtesy of ©