Spaniard Luis Leon Sanchez (Rabobank) took a solo win at the Clasica Ciclista San Sebastian in Spain on Tuesday – his second victory in the race, having previously won in 2010.
Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge) took the bunch sprint for second place at seven seconds, with Gianni Meersman (Lotto-Belisol) completing the podium in third.
After an earlier escape group was caught to bring the bunch back together in the final, hilly 80km, a group of five riders broke clear with 30km to go: Sergio Henao (Sky), Gorka Izaguirre (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Tomasz Marczynski (Vacansoleil), Rafael Valls (Vacansoleil) and Rafal Majka (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank).
At the top of the final ascent of the second category Arkale climb, Henao had dropped his escape companions. Behind, Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha) launched an attack from the chasing group dragging around ten riders with him into the final 15km flat section to the line.
The Rodriguez group caught Henao and then slowed up a little, allowing several smaller groups to make it make up to the front and swelling the numbers to around 30 riders.
Sanchez bided his time and then attacked with 9km to go. Sky’s Richie Porte reacted along with Rodriguez and Bauke Mollema (Rabobank), but the chasing pack hunted the trio down.
Hunched over the bars, Sanchez continued his solo time trial up front benefitting from untidy organisation among the following group. With no one willing to chase him down, Sanchez was allowed to cross the line with plenty of time to spare leaving the bunch to fight it out for second place.
Sanchez has already enjoyed a successful year, taking stage wins at the Tour de France, Paris-Nice, Vuelta a Castilla y Leon and Tour de Romandie. More wins may be on their way at the Vuelta a Espana, starting on Saturday in Pamplona.
Clasica Ciclista San Sebastian 2012
1. Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Rabobank in 5-55-35
2. Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge at 7 secs
3. Gianni Meersman (Bel) Lotto-Belisol
4. Christophe Le Mevel (Fra) Garmin-Sharp
5. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank
6. Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) BMC Racing
7. Mads Christensen (Den)Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank
8. Joaquin Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha
9. Xavier Florencio (Spa) Katusha
10. Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-ISD all same time
16. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Ag2r at 7 secs
18. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp at 7 secs
Luis Leon Sanchez celebrates