Preview Clásica San Sebastián and London Classic
This weekend two one-day races are scheduled for Lotto Soudal: the Clásica Ciclista San Sebastián on Saturday 1st August and the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic or London Classic on Sunday 2nd August.
Tomorrow it’s the 35th edition of the Clásica San Sebastián, a one-day race that’s part of the WorldTour and is organized in the Basque Country, in Spain. The peloton has to cover 219.2 kilometres and has to get over some tough climbs. The race starts and finishes in San Sebastián or Donostia, in the north of Spain. There are six climbs on the route, among those the Alto de Jaizkibel and Alto de Arkale. Both have to be covered twice. The finale is different than last year, there is an extra climb before the riders get to the boulevard in San Sebastián. The organization hopes to make the race more attractive this way. This is definitely a hard race. The race starts at 11:45 and will finish between 17:00 and 17:30.
Jelle Vanendert, Tiesj Benoot and Tim Wellens are part of the Lotto Soudal team. They will compete against riders like Bauke Mollema, Greg Van Avermaet and Joaquim Rodríguez. Alejandro Valverde, last year’s winner, starts as well. Jelle Vanendert looks ahead.
Jelle Vanendert: “San Sebastián is always a race where you have to work hard until the Jaizkibel, which we have to cover twice. After that the race normally breaks loose and it’s a matter of paying attention. It’s a tough course, but it suits me. I already was tenth here in 2011 and last year I was sixth.”
“After an altitude training camp you need to recover and then you always have to wait and see how the legs feel in the first race. In the third stage of the Tour de Wallonie, with finish on the Citadelle de Namur, I was sixth and I had a good feeling. The last stage I let go with the Clásica San Sebastián in mind. The condition is good and I hope I can battle along in the finale.”
“We have to see how well the riders have recovered from the Tour. The one rider gets out of a Grand Tour with an excellent condition and the other has sore legs and is tired. But I think favourites like Alejandro Valverde and Joaquim Rodríguez will be ready. That are riders you have to watch in this kind of races. But I will also keep an eye on Zdenek Stybar. We have to see how the race develops but I will try to follow those men.”
Selection Clásica San Sebastián: Tiesj Benoot, Stig Broeckx, Sean De Bie, Pim Ligthart, Dennis Vanendert, Jelle Vanendert, Tosh Van der Sande and Tim Wellens.
Sports director: Frederik Willems.
The London Classic is 200 kilometres long and there are five hills on the course. This Europe Tour race takes place for the fifth time. Start and finish are in the heart of London. The race will start at St James’ Park and will finish on The Mall, in front of Buckingham Palace. The riders first head to Surrey where they have to cover three local laps. It’s a tough course with five hills: Leith Hill, three times Ranmore and Box Hill. The last climb is situated 50 kilometres before the finish. At about 13:30 the race will start, the finish is expected between 18:00 and 19:00 local time, that’s one hour later in Brussels.
Jürgen Roelandts and Jens Debusschere will be at the start for Lotto Soudal. There are also two trainees in the selection: Dries Van Gestel and Kenneth Van Rooy. They will race next to among other Tom Boonen, Rohan Dennis and Edvald Boasson Hagen. Adam Blythe, last year’s winner, will start as well. Sports director Marc Wauters gives his opinion of the race.
Marc Wauters: “It’s a very special race, you don’t get to ride through the centre of London every day. The finish is in front of Buckingham Palace and that’s unique. There is a lot of prize money to be awarded and that makes we always get to watch a nice race.”
“The two trainees in our team will get a free role, they might join an early breakaway. We have to wait and see how Thomas De Gendt and Jens Debusschere have recovered from the Tour, we expect them in the second half of the race. Jürgen Roelandts, Kenny Dehaes and also Jens are fast so they can sprint for us.”
“This is a race where many young riders want to seize the opportunity. We have to see which riders are fresh after a tough Tour de France and who will control the race. If the right riders are in the break it might make it till the end. This race is hard to predict and that’s what makes it so nice.”
Selection London-Surrey Classic: Jens Debusschere, Kenny Dehaes, Thomas De Gendt, Jürgen Roelandts, Dries Van Gestel and Kenneth Van Rooy.
Sports director: Marc Wauters.