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23rd Clasica San Sebastian - CDM

Spain, August 6, 2003

2002 Results    Preview     Start List    Past winners

Who will succeed JaJa?

By Chris Henry

No more JaJa...
Photo: © AFP
Click for larger image

With the World Cup competition back in full swing, the one day specialists will return to Spain Saturday, August 9 for the Clasica San Sebastian, the seventh round of the ten race series. San Sebastian puts climbing back on the menu with its famed ascent of the Cat. 1 Jaizkibel, along with five other Cat. 2 and 3 climbs. The race title is very much up for grabs, with the winner of the last two editions, Laurent Jalabert, enjoying retirement from the pro peloton.

With the Jaizkibel situated just 36 kilometres from the finish, the selection is often made on the climb, but victory is not assured for those who pass the summit first. Jalabert's two victories in San Sebastian came under similar circumstances, as he helped shape the winning move and outsprinted a small group which stayed clear until the finish. In 2001, however, Dutchman Erik Dekker outfoxed a larger group by attacking in the closing kilometres to win solo. A sprint is always possible, and this year Oscar Freire (Rabobank) is hoping for a group arrival and an opportunity to make amends for an exceedingly quiet Tour de France performance.

The World Cup leader heading into the weekend is Peter Van Petegem (Lotto-Domo), who took command of the competition with wins in the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. Van Petegem is not as well suited to the hilly parcours in San Sebastian or next weekend's race in Zurich, but the experienced Belgian is not to be counted out when he is in form. Having picked up three points in Hamburg, Van Petegem kept his World Cup lead by a slender margin over Paolo Bettini (Quick.Step-Davitamon), who himself took his second World Cup win of the season at the HEW Cyclassics, and moved into second place and an ideal position to challenge for the overall title.

Paolo Bettini
Photo: © Sirotti
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Bettini showed after being on the attack all day in Hamburg - then handily winning the sprint from the five man lead group - that he is the man in form at the moment. Three weeks at the Tour de France helped hone the small but powerful Italian's form, bolstered by the jersey of national champion on his back. Bettini is an ideal rider for the World Cup, as he demonstrated by taking the series win last year, since he can both sprint and climb. Not quite the mountain man as some of the other contenders, Bettini is more than capable of holding his own on all but the biggest climbs. He is a heavy favourite for both San Sebastian and Zurich, and at least on paper holds an advantage over Van Petegem.

Alongside Bettini, the Italian contingent features the ever present Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner), who is often among the leaders, but seldom the victor in the tough one day races. Rebellin did not finish the Tour de France, but showed in Hamburg that his form has come around and the classics remain his strong point. Francesco Casagrande, a former winner in San Sebastian, will head the Lampre charge and after a strong performance in the GP Camaiore in Italy this week, could be in the right form to take a new title in Spain. Saeco's team will be headed by Danilo Di Luca, Mirko Celestino, and tough Spaniard Igor Astarloa.

Tyler Hamilton (CSC) and George Hincapie (US Postal Service-Berry Floor) will join the list of contenders and represent for the United States. Hamilton has had some time to mend from his crash in the Tour de France, which complicated his month of July but didn't stop the tough New Englander from impressing many with his stage win and fourth overall in Paris. Hamilton will be joined by his fellow CSC stage winners Carlos Sastre and Jakob Piil, giving CSC a good chance to repeat its title in Jalabert's absence.

Hincapie, who also had a brilliant Tour in the service of team leader Lance Armstrong (who will not race Saturday), and was active in Hamburg last weekend, will head the blue train for the World Cup before also tackling the Vuelta a España.

The list of hopefuls is long, including also Rabobank's Michael Boogerd, who has steadily moved up in the World Cup rankings, Alessio's Laurent Dufaux, and the omnipresent Alexandre Vinokourov, who has given Telekom one World Cup win this year at the Amstel Gold Race, along with his overall titles at Paris-Nice and the Tour de Suisse, not to mention his third place overall (and stage win) at the Tour de France.

Cyclingnews will have live coverage of the Clasica San Sebastian beginning around 14:30 CEST/08:30 EDT/05:30PDT/22:30 Aust EST.

Past winners

Year First                      Second         Third
2002 Laurent Jalabert (Fra)     Astarloa       Missaglia
2001 Laurent Jalabert (Fra)     Casagrande     Rebellin
2000 Erik Dekker (Ned)          Tchmil         Vainsteins
1999 Francesco Casagrande (Ita) Verbrugghe     Figueras
1998 Francesco Casagrande (Ita) Merckx         Piepoli
1997 Davide Rebellin (Ita)      Gontchenkov    Kolage
1996 Udo Bölts (Ger)            Cattai         Podenzana
1995 Lance Armstrong (USA)      Della Santa    Museeuw
1994 Armand De las Cuevas (Fra) Amstrong       Della Santa
1993 Claudio Chiappucci (Ita)   Farensin       Voupi
1992 Raul Alcala (Mex)          Chiappucci     Bowmans
1991 Gianni Bugno (Ita)         Delgado        Fondriest
1990 Miguel Indurain (Spa)      Jalabert       Kelly
1989 Gerhard Zadrobilek (Aut)   Antequera      Rominger
1988 Gert Jan Theunisse (Ned)   Aja            Rooks
1987 Marino Lejarreta (Spa)     Arroyo         Echave
1986 Inaki Caston (Spa)         Lejarreta      Fernandez
1985 Adrie Van der Poel (Ned)   Gaston         Fernandez
1984 Niki Rüttimann (Swi)       Dietzen        Prieto
1983 Claude Criquielion (Bel)   Coll           Dietzen
1982 Marino Lejarreta (Spa)     Rodriguez      Delgado
1981 Marino Lejarreta (Spa)     Jones          Ruperez

Distance, time and average speed of the winner

2002 Laurent Jalabert (Fra) CSC  230 kms in 5.47.29 (39.19 km/h)
2001 Laurent Jalabert (Fra) CSC  230 kms in 5.17.54 (42.8 km/h)
2000 Erik Dekker (Ned) Rabobank  230 kms in 5.16.01 (43.7 km/h)
1999 Francesco Casagrande (Ita)  230 kms in 5.15.29 (43.7 km/h)
1998 Francesco Casagrande (Ita)  232 kms in 5.43.35 (40.5 km/h)
1997 Davide Rebellin (Ita)       234 kms in 5.47.22 (39.7 km/h)
1996 Udo Bölts (Ger)             227 kms in 5.45.55 (40.5 km/h)
1995 Lance Armstrong (USA)       234 kms in 5.31.17 (44.0 km/h)
1994 Armand De las Cuevas (Fra)  238 kms in 5.24.44 (45.3 km/h)
1993 Claudio Chiappucci (Ita)    238 kms in 5.47.51 (41.1 km/h)
1992 Raul Alcala (Mex)           234 kms in 5.58.17 (39.2 km/h)
1991 Gianni Bugno (Ita)          238 kms in 6.04.28 (39.2 km/h)
1990 Miguel Indurain (Spa)       248 kms in 6.19.59 (39.2 km/h)
1989 Gerhard Zadrobilek (Aut)    244 kms in 6.24.10 (38.1 km/h)
1988 Gert Jan Theunisse (Ned)    244 kms in 6.09.36 (39.6 km/h)
1987 Marino Lejarreta (Spa)      244 kms in 6.19.19 (38.6 km/h)
1986 Gaston (Fra)                244 kms in 5.53.53 (41.4 km/h)
1985 Adrie Van der Poel (Ned)    244 kms in 5.52.32 (41.5 km/h)
1984 Niki Rüttimann (Swi)        244 kms in 6.11.10 (39.4 km/h)
1983 Claude Criquielion (Bel)    
1982 Marino Lejarreta (Spa)      
1981 Marino Lejarreta (Spa)      230 kms in 6.09.24 (37.4 km/h)

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