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Gilbert's stunning season continues with Clasica San Sebastian win

Belgian ends July the way he started - with a win

Philippe Gilbert of Omega Pharma Lotto this afternoon ended the month of July the same way he had begun it, wearing the Belgian national champions' jersey to victory. Four weeks ago, victory in Stage 1 of the Tour de France at Mont des Alouettes had put Gilbert into the maillot jaune. Today, an attack in the final 4 kilometres of the Clasica San Sebastian saw the Belgian triumph over former winner Carlos Barredo of Rabobank, who finished second, with another Belgian, Greg Van Avermaet of BMC Racing, third.

The ten-man group that contested the closing kilometres had broken away from what had already been a select bunch around 15 kilometres from the Basque seaside city, with Omega Pharma-Lotto the only team to be represented by two riders. Gilbert's team mate, Jelle Vanendert, winner at Plateau de Beille in the Tour de France, attacked but was unable to make it stick, and 7 kilometres from the finish line Barredo, winner of this race in 2009, made his move.

Once the 29-year-old Gilbert, winner of all three Ardennes classics this year, as other races including the Strade Bianche, went on the attack, none of his rivals was able to respond. He quickly caught and passed Barredo, and on the aproach to the line had time to sit up and enjoy the cheers of the crowd.

Afterwards, the Belgian revealed that changes made to the course in recent years that see the Category 1 Jaizkibel is climbed twice favoured him over some of the stronger climbers, since it meant that the climb was tackled less aggressively than it was in the days it was only ridden once.

Gllbert is only the second Belgian winner in the 30-year history of the race since Claude Criquielion triumphed in 1983, and while the country may be afflicted by linguistic and cultural splits, its cycling fans had plenty to cheer in this year's edition with four riders in the top ten.

Clasica San Sebastian result 
1  GILBERT, Philippe   Omega Pharma-Lotto           5:48:52
2  BARREDO, Carlos     Rabobank                          12
3  VAN AVERMAET, Greg  BMC Racing                        14
4  RODRIGUEZ, Joaquin  Katusha                           14
5  DEVENYNS, Dries     Quick Step                        14
6  SCHLECK, Frank      Leopard Trek                      14
7  ZUBELDIA, Haimar    RadioShack                        14
8  SÁNCHEZ, Samuel     Euskaltel-Euskadi                 14
9  URAN, Rigoberto     Sky Procycling                    14
10 VANENDERT, Jelle    Omega Pharma-Lotto                50
11 GERRANS, Simon      Sky Procycling                  2:05
12 PONZI, Simone       Liquigas-Cannondale             2:05
13 BRESCHEL,           Matti Rabobank                  2:05
14 GAVAZZI, Francesco  Lampre-ISD                      2:05
15 ROJAS, José Joaquin Movistar                        2:05
16 FISCHER, Murilo     Garmin-Cervelo                  2:05
17 COBO, Juan José     Geox-TMC                        2:05
18 CHAVANEL, Sylvain   Quick Step                      2:05
19 HESJEDAL, Ryder     Garmin-Cervelo                  2:05
20 FRANK, Mathias      BMC Racing                      2:05


Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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