The only Spanish World Tour one-day race contains seven leg-sapping ascents jammed in a 226km-long course.

Less than a week from the end of the Tour de France, many of the riders who completed the second Grand Tour of the season will line out for the 39th edition of Clasica San Sebastian, a spectacular race to the taste of climbers and puncheurs alike. Starting and finishing in the charming city that lies on the coast of the Atlantic, the race – which puts on the table a slightly revamped course – should get off to a quiet start before coming to life on the iconic Jaizkibel climb (8.3km, 5.3%), which will make a first selection in the peloton.

With 70 kilometers to go, the riders will take on the Erlaitz, a 3.8km-long ascent averaging 10.6%, that will further whittle down the bunch, while Mendizorrotz could give the cue for some other moves from the field. Despite these hurdles, it’s widely expected that the big and potentially decisive attacks will be launched on the brutal Murgil Tontorra (1.8km, 11.5%), whose steep and grueling gradients and narrow roads can be used as springboard to victory, especially as the hill tops less than ten kilometers from the finish on the famous Boulevard.

Defending champion and UCI Classification leader Julian Alaphilippe will be at the start, where he’ll come after a tremendous Tour de France during which he ascended to a whole new level after finishing fifth overall, winning two stages and spending 14 days in the yellow jersey. He will be joined for the 39th edition of the Spanish event by Eros Capecchi, Tim Declercq, Dries Devenyns, Belgium Tour victor Remco Evenepoel (who will make his first outing in a one-day World Tour race), Mikkel Honoré and Enric Mas.

“Clasica San Sebastian is always a nice and exciting race with a very hard part in the final. Coming just after Le Tour means that many riders are still in form and can target the victory. We have a strong and motivated team, capable of playing several cards, but the plan is to take it one step at a time, see how the race unfolds and hopefully get a nice result at the end of the day”, sports director Wilfried Peeters said.


Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele/ Getty Images

Our road wolves