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Cl?sica San Sebastian Preview

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Ah, racing... it's always refreshing to get back to talking about what people do on their bikes. For those few Cyclists in the world who aren't attending the Race to Replace, all eyes will be on Basque Country for the latest Pro Tour event, the Clasica San Sebastian, or as the locals say, the Donostia Klasikoa.

The race itself sounds like one of Cycling's great destinations. Every writeup out there heralds the fact that it draws out huge numbers of Basque Cycling fans -- whose devotion to the sport in their small corner of the universe kind of makes them Cycling's Cheeseheads. Since the Jaizkebel climb is typically decisive, visiting fans can figure out where to watch. The scenery around the Atlantic coastline is gorgeous. And the race kicks off the summer fiesta season. How can this not be fun? The only miserable people will be the racers weighing over 160 pounds.

keep going... Update [2006-8-11 18:41:11 by chris]:!...

Some basic facts:

  • The race is entering its 26th year of existence, having been started in 1981. It's largely been the province of foreigners, though Spaniards have won the last two: Constantine Zaballo and Miguel Angel Martin Perdiguero having recently worn the Txapela, a giant black pancake placed on the winner's head. Wikipedia has some minimal history.
  • The race is for the climbers. Assuming last year's course is this year's too, the Jaizkebel will undoubtedly winnow the field, but with 30km left and two lesser climbs plus a downhill to the finish, it would be hard to solo away and even harder to win without some sprinting ability. That said, Zaballa won alone by 30 seconds last year; a five-up sprint settled the 2004 race; and Bettini led home five Italians within 20 seconds in 2003. In a word: unpredictable.
  • But that won't stop people from making predictions. VeloNews is first out of the gate with their preview, focusing loosely (if wisely) on Pro Tour leader Alejandro Valverde, while also dropping names like Cunego, Schleck, Sastre and David Millar. Eurosport, meanwhile, offloads its previewing responsibilities to Paolo Bettini, who for once likes Danilo DiLuca, Alexandre Vinokourov, and Davide Rebellin's chances better than his own.
    Update [2006-8-11 18:41:11 by chris]: CN has its preview posted.
  • Media...?? who the hell knows. Cycling.tv has nada, Eurosport too. If you find anyone doing audio or video, let us know here. Update [2006-8-11 18:41:11 by chris]: CN will have live coverage, so at least we'll have lines of text to get excited about!