Adam Yates takes first WorldTour victory at Clásica de San Sebastián - but communication problems during race meant that he couldn't be sure


Adam Yates (Orica-GreenEdge) took the biggest win of his career on Saturday, claiming a solo victory in the Clásica de San Sebastián in Spain.

The 22-year-old British rider attacked on the final climb of Bordako Tontorra to take his first WorldTour victory ahead of Belgian Philippe Gilbert (BMC) in second and Spanish defending champion Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) in third.

Yates appeared not to know whether he had won or not due to communication problems during the race, and crossed the line looking bemused before being told the good news.

Adam Yates wins the 2015 Clasica San Sebastian

Adam Yates crosses the line but doesn’t fully realise that there’s no one else ahead of him

Yates was part of a lead group headed into the final climb, that also included Warren Barguil (Giant-Alpecin), Daniel Martin (Cannondale-Garmin), Gilbert, Valverde, Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) and Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) with an advantage of 35 seconds over the peloton.

Barguil attacked on the ascent, but was then caught and passed by Yates. Van Averamet also attacked, but a motorbike touched his back wheel and caused him to crash – unbeknown to Yates.

Joaquim Rodriguez in the 2015 Clasica San Sebastian

Joaquim Rodriguez in the 2015 Clasica San Sebastian

Yates opened up a gap of 10 seconds on the descent with five kilometres remaining and benefited from a lack of cooperation in the chase group, stretching out his lead to 15 seconds.

He crossed the line alone and talking frantically into his team radio, apparently confused as to whether he had won or not. As the message came through, a broad smile appeared on his face and he finally raised his arms to celebrate.

Clasica de San Sebastian profile

Clasica de San Sebastian profile

Yates’s victory comes on the back of a strong debut performance in the Tour de France, and will be welcome after last year’s edition of San Sebastian when he crashed out on the final descent while in the escape.

Live television coverage of the race was severely disrupted after the host broadcaster’s television relay plane suffered technical problems and was unable to transmit pictures. It meant that information on the race was severely limited, including to teams taking part in the race – hence why Yates apparently didn’t know whether he had won.

WorldTour racing continues on Sunday with the start of the Tour of Poland. Some of the riders that took part in San Sebastián will also travel to Britain to take part in Sunday’s one-day RideLondon-Surrey Classic.

>>> RideLondon-Surrey Classic 2015 preview

Adam Yates wins the 2015 Clasica San Sebastian

Adam Yates on the podium, with Gilbert (left) and Valverde (right)

Clásica de San Sebastián 2015
1. Adam Yates (GBr) Orica-GreenEdge in 5-30-22
2. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing at 15 secs
3. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar
4. Daniel Moreno (Spa) Katusha
5. Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha
6. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek Factory Racing
7. Daniel Martin (Irl) Cannondale-Garmin
8. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Etixx-QuickStep
9. Warren Barguil (Fra) Giant-Alpecin
10. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Etixx-QuickStep all same time

Greg Van Avermaet crashes in the 2015 Clasica San Sebastian

Greg Van Avermaet’s back wheel was touched by a race motorbike, scuppering his chances of a win

Adam Yates attacks in the 2015 Clasica San Sebastian

Adam Yates attacks in the 2015 Clasica San Sebastian

Adam Yates wins the 2015 Clasica San Sebastian

Adam Yates wins the 2015 Clasica San Sebastian

Video RideLondon-Surrey Classic race director talks about the event

  • Gecko2020

    GVA did not “crash into” the moto – the Press Moto ran over GVAs bike and cracked the frame!!

  • 65juicer

    That’s a bit unfair isn’t it – “GVA crashes in to motorbike…”
    It was the other way round !

  • Kane ‘Castro’ Pickles

    I appreciate race radios add structure to a race, It is now part of cycling. What was able to be watched on Television must have been exciting and similar to times gone by. The best athlete won! The start of a glittering Palmares I imagine. 😀