Julian Alaphilippe’s run of great form continued at the 38th edition of Clasica San Sebastian, where the Quick-Step Floors Frenchman took his eighth win of the year.
Fresh off his strong performance at the Tour de France, where he won two mountain stages and the KOM classification, Alaphilippe was one of the favourites at Spain’s only World Tour one-day event and he played it perfectly at the sharp end of the 229-kilometre race, where the fight for victory was once again shaped by the brutal Murgil Tortorra climb.
The steep 1800 metre-long hill, which made its first appearance on the course two years ago, awaited the riders with its 11.3% average gradient, where the race exploded and the peloton was blown to pieces. Alaphilippe unleashed a powerful acceleration with 500 metres left as the gradient stiffened and escaped together with Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo), opening a 20-second gap over the top of the climb, which they extended on the technical descent despite the chasing group being a numerous one.
In the two-up sprint in San Sebastian, Alaphilippe lead out out and used his strong kick to get the better of the Dutchman and take the victory after six hours in the saddle.
“I knew that the race suited my characteristics, but I honestly didn’t expect to win today,” said Alaphilippe. “I didn’t feel very good, as I was tired after a long and hard Tour de France, but stayed focused in the final and made my effort at the right time, using the last climb as launch pad.
“I want to say a big thank you to my teammates, who protected and helped me throughout the day, believing in my chances. I am very happy after this win, because San Sebastian is a special race which I like a lot and it means a lot to conclude this part of the season with another beautiful victory”,said Alaphilippe who has now moved up to third in the World Tour individual classification.