Remco Evenepoel made a long range solo break to blow away his rivals and win Clasica San Sebastian for the second time on Saturday.
The Quick-Step rider broke clear with 45km to go to reclaim the title he won in similar fashion in 2019 as he builds towards next month’s Vuelta a Espana.
Evenepoel, 22, crossed the line nearly two minutes ahead of Pavel Sivakov with Tiesj Benoot, two and a half minutes off the pace.
The young Belgian opted for a three-week course at altitude in northern Italy to prepare for the Vuelta, his big goal for the second half of the season.
“It’s one of my favourite races after Liège,” said Evenepoel as he climbed on the podium and donned a traditional Basque beret.
“They did a great job from the start, thanks to them I was able to arrive fresh on the penultimate climb and maintain big rhythm to the top. I felt very good,” he said.
“The idea was to develop a good base in the perspective of the Vuelta. This week, I think I rode about ten hours, so I feel very fresh. I am more complete than three years ago,” he added.
“I had variations in weight, up and down, but we worked on that at the dietary level. I’m stable now. I’m two kilos lighter but I’m still just as explosive, if not more.”
Riders who competed in the Tour de France showed their fatigue in the Basque Country after three weeks of intense racing. Tadej Pogacar, competing six days after finishing second in Paris where he was the defending champion, was left behind in the climb of Jaizkibel, 63km from the finish.
𝗥𝗨𝗘 𝗗𝗘 𝗥𝗘𝗠𝗖𝗢 𝗘𝗩𝗘𝗡𝗘𝗣𝗢𝗘𝗟
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— Donostiako Klasikoa (@dklasikoa) July 30, 2022