'Deafening' Basque fans and tactical precision as Simon Carr key to EF's Clásica San Sebastián win

The Brit dropped Mikel Landa to forge clear before team-mate Neilson Powless finished off the job and took the victory

Simon Carr
(Image credit: Getty)

Tactical precision amongst the chaos of Basque cycling fans was the order of the day at Clásica San Sebastián, as Neilson Powless pulled off a fantastic victory for EF Education - Nippo.

Key to this win was Brit Simon Carr, in his debut WorldTour season, who dropped Mikel Landa and set off up the road to alley-oop Powless' charge from behind.

The American could simply sit on the chase group as Matej Mohorič worked to drag Carr back, Powless saving his legs for the sprint finish where he just edged out the Slovenian.

"Yeah, it was a hard race and my job was to cover the moves over that penultimate climb. But in the end, as the race had been really hard, we decided just to move ourselves," Carr explained to Cycling Weekly after the finish. "I had good legs there and then Nielsen was able to come across and not do too much work in the group behind while they were catching me. 

>>> 'I was watching the map on my Garmin, the others were too focused on the race situation': Powless on San Sebastián win

"And then from there, I knew I was pretty cooked, just at the maximum in that group of five riders. And then Nielsen was strong on that final climb. I was caught in the chasing group. But yeah, he finished off at the end, so a good day."

Carr said there didn't have to be any discussion between the two team-mates of what needed doing once they were together up the road, Powless taking the baton and running with it all the way to the top step of the podium, and Carr was under no impression that he could have taken the win instead today.

"Not really because I knew the run-in was really long between the two climbs. Maybe if it was a bit more hilly in the final. The hills closer together, I would have been closer. But yeah, in the end, we still won. So it's a good day. There was a lot of fans, really deafening, it was pretty incredible."

The Brit's debut season in the top tier is going swimmingly, 11th at Strade Bianche, a Giro d'Italia debut Grand Tour, and eighth in the Mont Ventoux challenge before today's outing.

"I had a bit of an up and down Giro, but I felt it really brought me along. Going into second part of the season I think I've done some good work. Just missing a bit of racing, good legs, but today is definitely a good showing for a first race back."

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Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races.

Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab and I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).

I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.