Saturday’s Clasica San Sebastian provides a ‘hair of the dog’ hangover cure for Tour de France riders, and an ideal launchpad for those wishing to build form for the Vuelta a Espana and World Championships.

The fight will be between tired Tour legs and a host of Spanish talent hoping to bask in Basque glory on home soil. This year’s race features a host of 2010 Tour de France stars, including overall winner Alberto Contador who brings along a strong Astana line-up.

Contador will be up against 2009 winner Carlos Barredo, who will be supported by Tour yellow jersey wearer and double stage winner Sylvain Chavanel at Quick Step. Tour 2010 followers will, shamefully, probably know Barredo more for his post-stage six fisticuffs with Rui Costa, during which he bashed the rider with a wheel…

Also present will be Contador’s Tour nemesis Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank), Ivan Basso (Liquigas), Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha), Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel), Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma), Levi Leipheimer (RadioShack), Carlos Sastre (Cervelo), Denis Menchov (Rabobank), Damiano Cunego (Lampre), Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin) and Nicolas Roche (Ag2r).

Of the 2010 Tour overall top ten, only two riders – Jurgen Van den Broeck (Omega Pharma) and Chris Horner (RadioShack) – are not slated to ride San Sebastian. 

One last minute addition to Team Sky’s line-up is this week’s Tour de Wallonie winner Russell Downing. Obviously experiencing top form, the Yorkshireman has been drafted in to help the British team’s effort in its first outing at the race. Sky’s top Tour finisher Thomas Löfkvist heads up the squad.

At 234km and featuring six categorised climbs, the route is tough going – the penultimate first category Alto de Jaizkibel, 7.8km long at a six per cent gradient, will likely force a final selection in what remains of the bunch 40km from the finish. The final climb to Alto de Arkale just 15km from the line will further serve to shake things up.

Clasica San Sebastian 2010
Spain, ProTour
When: Saturday, July 31 2010
Distance: 234km

Clasica San Sebastian 2010: The teams
Ag2r-La Mondiale
Andalucia-Caja Sur
Caisse d’Epargne
Cervelo Test Team
Francaise des Jeux
Lampre-Farnese Vini
Omega Pharma-Lotto
Quick Step
Saxo Bank
Team Sky

Clasica San Sebastian 2010: The Brits
All names to be confirmed
Russell Downing (Team Sky)
Chris Froome (Team Sky)
Charly Wegelius (Omega Pharma-Lotto)
David Millar (Garmin-Transitions)

Clasica San Sebastian: Recent winners
2009: Carlos Barredo
2008: Alejandro Valverde
2007: Leonardo Bertagnolli
2006: Xavier Florencio
2005: Constantino Zaballa
2004: Martin Perdiguero
2003: Paolo Bettini
2002: Laurent Jalabert
2001: Laurent Jalabert
2000: Erik Dekker

Clasica San Sebastian: Last year’s top ten
1. Carlos Barredo (Spa) Quick Step in 5-36-59
2. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas
3. Mickael Delage (Fra) Silence-Lotto at 7secs
4. Peter Velits (Svk) Milram
5. Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Slipstream
6. Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Katusha
7. Christophe Riblon (Fra) Ag2r
8. Serguei Ivanov (Rus) Katusha
9. Ruben Perez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
10. Marco Pinotti (Ita) Columbia-HTC all same time

Related links

2010 UCI World Calendar: ProTour and Historic races