Bauke Mollema gets some sort of consolation at Clasica de San Sebastian
That post-Tour de France review of mine never really happened, did it? My week of sloth means I sort of feel obliged to report on the latest WorldTour (no space) race, the Clasica de San Sebastian, which took place yesterday.
A race being part of the WorldTour (no space) is not necessarily a guarantee of quality, but you only need look at the past winners to know that this race is of merit. It’s basically a well-timed hilly one-day jaunt that exploits Tour riders’ good form. In recent years it has been won by the likes of Alejandro Valverde, Philippe Gilbert and Tony Gallopin.
Last year, it was won by Adam Yates, who narrowly missed out on the Tour de France podium last week. This year, it was won by Bauke Mollema.
“I’ve always wanted to be on the podium at this race and get one of those Basque hats – and now, finally, I have one,” said the Dutchman.
With such powerful motivation, he was perhaps destined to win. Here’s a picture of his moment of fulfilment.
Mollema’s Tour de France was a borderline tragic one. He crashed on the penultimate day in the Alps and dropped from second place overall to tenth. After a brave/ill-advised attack the following day, he dropped another place.
Mollema is not, by and large, someone who wins things. Historically, he is the guy who finishes seventh in the Tour de France despite rarely appearing in coverage. 2016 was shaping up better but ended up worse, but at least he now has some sort of consolation.
He attacked on the final climb to beat an impressive field. Gallopin was second, Valverde was third, Joaquim Rodriguez was fourth and Greg Van Avermaet was fifth. I wouldn’t normally mention the minor placings, but this underlines what a competitive race this is and is also instructive as next weekend’s Olympic road race is a hilly one.
I would promise to report on the Olympic road cycling, but as we’ve seen, there’s always the possibility that I might be doing something or nothing instead.