Remco Evenepoel caused a stunt on Saturday by winning the Clásica San Sebastián. The Belgian top talent crossed the finish line after more than 227 kilometers in the Basque Country.
The only nineteen-year-old Evenepoel, who made his debut in a one-day race in the WorldTour, left his Latvian companion Toms Skujins at about 10 kilometers on the last climb of the race and was no longer overtaken by the competition.
Greg Van Avermaet completed the Belgian party by sprinting to second place in the chasing group in 38 seconds. The Swiss Marc Hirschi of Team Sunweb finished third. Bauke Mollema was the best Dutchman in fifth place.
Evenepoel, who is working on his first year as a professional, recorded his first victory in a WorldTour race and his fourth victory this year. Two months ago he took the overall victory in the Tour of Belgium, in which he also won a stage. Last week, the young Deceuninck-Quick-Step rider was the strongest in a stage of the Italian course Adriatica Ionica Race.
With its 19 years and 190 days, Evenepoel is the third youngest winner of a classic. Only his compatriots Victor Fastré (18 years and 362 days) and Georges Ronsse (19 years and 102 days) once won a large one-day race at a younger age. In 1909 and 1925 they respectively won Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
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Bouwman is part of early flight
In the 39th edition of the Clásica San Sebastián, a leading group of nine riders formed early on. Among them were Dutchman Koen Bouwman and 39-year-old Spaniard Markel Irizar, who rode the last course of his career.
In the first part of the race it became clear that the Tour de France took its toll. Title defender Julian Alaphilippe and Jumbo-Visma leader Laurens De Plus, among others, stepped down because they were too tired to continue. Tour winner Egan Bernal, Mikel Landa and Simon Yates also ran into problems on the various climbs relatively quickly.
The refugees were initially given space in the peloton and had a lead of about four minutes halfway. As the game progressed, the leading group thinned further and further, leaving Spaniard Fernando Barceló the last of this group. The rider of the modest Euskadi Basque Country-Murias was reckoned at approximately 50 kilometers.
Remco Evenepoel started his solo at 10 kilometers from the finish. (Photo: Getty Images)
Evenepoel fights back
On the climb to Mendizorrotz, the penultimate of the race, the race broke open and Movistar accelerated. As a result, the peloton thinned further and further and Mollema had a hard time at the rear. De Groninger, who finished second behind Alaphilippe last year and won in 2016, was finally able to join.
Evenepoel fell behind for a while, but fought back and went on the attack with Skujins about 20 kilometers from the finish. The duo started with a forty second lead on the thinned peloton on the Murgil-Tontorra, a 1.8 kilometer climb with an average increase of 11.5 percent.
On the last climb, which has served as a sharpener in recent years, Evenepoel rode away from Skujins. Several riders from the chasing group tried to close the gap with the world champion with the juniors, but in the end he held out without any problems.
The stage of the Clásica San Sebastián 2019. (Photo: Getty Images)
See also: The cycling calendar of 2019