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Tinkoff with two-pronged strategy for Spanish one day Classic.

Photo: Tinkoff / BettiniPhoto






29.07.2016 @ 11:38 Posted by Jesper Ralbjerg

This Saturday, the UCI WorldTour action continues with the 36th edition of Clasica San Sebastian, a 220.2km one-day semi-classic on the northern coast of Spain, suited to the punchy climbers. Having won the 2009 edition, Roman Kreuziger comes to Spain with good memories of the race, and he is joined by Alberto Contador, returning from his injuries that saw him withdraw from the Tour de France.
Having both Alberto and Roman in the team for the race gives Tinkoff two cards to play, with the tough, hilly parcours one that suits both of their characteristics as climbers. The course features six main climbs over its parcours, with the final 60km being the most decisive section of the race. The parcours potentially suits one of the two riders more than the other, but after the Tour de France form is sometimes a bit uncertain, as Sport Director Patxi Vila explains.
“San Sebastian is always a special race, with people either coming from the Tour de France or preparing for La Vuelta so you have two levels. If you leave the Tour in good condition, then usually you have something extra over those who are preparing for La Vuelta and may be in very good shape but lack some race speed. But then it’s also not easy to recover in just five days.”

Alberto and Roman will be joined by Oscar Gatto, also coming from the Tour de France, as well as Jésus Hernández, Sergio Paulinho, Evgeny Petrov, Ivan Rovny and Yuri Trofimov giving the team a mix of support for the two leaders.
“Alberto has been training well and recovering, however, his race form will remain a bit unknown until Saturday, but the idea is to go out and race hard. We have Roman too who finished the Tour well and if he’s recovered he’ll be another card to play. The final climb of the race suits Alberto’s capacities as a climber better but it’s not that easy to guess how they’re feeling. Then alongside these two we have a strong team to support them.”


In San Sebastián, Alberto hopes to start building up the competition pace, necessary to successfully tackle his next major goal, the Vuelta a España. "I watched many stages of the Tour on television, but it was not easy to follow the race because I knew almost every corner of the parcours and I found it difficult to accept that I wasn't there. However, sports is like that, and I'm already feeling better and working towards my next goal, the Vuelta a España".
Following a period of complete rest, Alberto Contador started "to slowly going on the bike for a spin and although the discomfort was always there and I had a slower rhythm longer than I expected, I haven't been worried about it. I am aware I will lack a bit of pace in San Sebastián and Burgos, which will probably raise my pulse a lot, but I know the best is to think about the Vuelta a España. I will tackle these two races with a bit of calm and with a longer-term objective."
Regarding his recent injuries he feels already "pretty good but not perfect yet. Of course, there is no comparison with how I was in the Tour, but I still don't do any stretching in order not to risk a relapse. Otherwise I'm already almost back to normal."
For Alberto, the key now is that he gets to feel at ease. "I'm in very good spirits  and just think I have the Vuelta a España ahead. It is my country's race, I'll be at home and I really look forward to taking to the start ". While he waits for the start in Orense, he thinks San Sebastian "is a very demanding race where riders coming from the Tour always have an edge in their form, which makes a difference. It will be difficult to be at their level, but it will be good in order to pick up pace."

The race sees a slight change to the latter stages of the route after last year’s race with the final climb now taking a different route to the top of the same hill, with a similarly steep profile to tackle before a fast descent down to the final flat run-in. The 220.2km route features around 3500m climbing in total making it a tough day in the saddle, with the two ascents of the Jaizkibel climb, cresting at 125km and 165km in, the toughest of the six categorised climbs. The final ascent of the Murgil Tontorra may only reach 250m altitude, however the steep gradients and proximity to the finish will be sure to spark decisive attacks, as all that remains is a fast descent followed by a few kilometres flat finish where the 2016 champion will be crowned. 



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