Michal Kwiatkowski wins Clásica San Sebastián 2017

The former world champion finished off a perfect performance for Team Sky with victory in the Basque Country

Michal Kwiatkowski.
(Image credit: Yuzuru Sunada)

Michal Kwiatkowski continued his fine 2017 form with victory in the the Clásica San Sebastián, beating Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Soudal), Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) and Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) in a sprint finish to the line.

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The former world champion finished of a near perfect team performance from Sky, who setup the final break of five riders with an attack from Mikel Landa on the steep final climb of Alto de Murgil.

Landa went with 1km remaining on the final climb and around 8km to the finish, and was initially followed by Tour de France runner-up Rigoberto Urán (Cannondale-Drapac), who quickly faded.

But former Clásica winner Gallopin was the first rider to bridge across to Landa, before defending champion Mollema counter attacked and also bridged the gap.

Those three topped the climb together, but behind Kwiatkowski had made his move off the peloton along with Giro d'Italia winner Dumoulin.

They sat at around four seconds on the fast descent on the climb, with Kwiatkowski able to bridge to the front three with 3.7km to go and Dumoulin shortly after.

With two riders in play and the peloton at 25 seconds behind, Team Sky looked set for the win as Landa controlled the pace on the front of the bunch into the final kilometres.

He managed to get away just before the final kilometre with Mollema letting the wheel go, and it was Dumoulin who closed him down.

But while the other riders played cat and mouse Kwiatkowski was able to sit in calmly at the rear of the group, with Gallopin launching his sprint first on the right hand side of the road.

The other riders then began their rushes to the line, but it was Kwiatkoski who looked to sail with ease through the middle of them all to calmly take victory a bike length of Gallopin, who takes a second consecutive runner-up spot in the race.

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Former world champion Kwiatkowski caps off a near perfect year, which has seen him win at Strade Bianche, Milan-San Remo and play a pivotal part in helping Chris Froome win a fourth Tour de France title.

The early break

On a long, hot day in the Basque Country, the peloton were happy to sit in and let an early break get up the road while they whittled down the kilometres to the business end of the race.

A break of Sven Erik Bystrøm (Katusha), Loïc Chetout (Cofidis), Jon Ander Insausti (Bahrain-Merida, Mickaël Delage (FDJ), Imanol Erviti (Movistar), Christoph Pfingsten (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Mathias Le Turnier (Cofidis) got away very early on with around five minutes maximum gap.

But they never looked like a threat to the peloton, with Sky doing a strong job of working on the front along with Orica-Scott for Simon Yates.

The break gradually lost riders and a lot of time as the climbs began to come thick and fast, with remaining rider Erviti caught with 56km to go on the third to final climb.

Another 10-man group got away before the penultimate climb and that swelled over the top to 15 riders.

Quick-Step tried to push things on and they got 21 seconds, but those teams that missed out, including Orica-Scott, eventually brought them back with just under 26km to go.

Sky's Gianni Moscon was able to break from that group though just before they were caught, and began a solo effort that saw him gain 43 second gap over the bunch.

That meant that Sky didn't have to do any work on the front of the bunch before the final climb, with Orica and Lotto-Soudal leading the chase.

Their efforts saw Moscon brought back on the final climb with 10km remaining, which set things up perfectly for Mikel Landa to attack and help deliver victory for Kwiatkowski.


Clásica San Sebastián 2017 (231km)

1. Michal Kwiatkoswki (Pol) Team Sky, in 5-52-53

2. Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto-Soudal

3. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo

4. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Sunweb, all same time

5. Mikel Landa (Esp) Team Sky, at 2s

6. Alberto Bettiol (Ita) Cannondale-Drapac, at 28s

7. Anthony Roux (Fra) FDJ, at 38s

8. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing

9. Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto-Soudal

19. Nicolas Roche (Irl) BMC Racing, all same time

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