There’s something I really like about the Clásica San Sebastián. It’s a one day race in the Basque country and the way it comes so soon after the Tour de France means you get an interesting mix of Tour de France heroes and one day specialists in the mix. It’s a very scenic race, featuring classic Basque terrain and the finale in the sweeping bay of San Sebastian. Plus the Basques are the biggest cycling fans in Spain.
The terrain is rolling for most of the day and features the Jaizkibel climb in the final as the strategic point. It only tops out at 475m above sea level but you start the climb right from the sea shore and in 8km it’s hard enough at the end of a long 234km race to hurt, especially since it has ramps at close to 10% early on, before it levels off for the last two kilometres. Riders climb this twice, along with two ascensions of the the smaller Arkale climb as well.
Sadly the race is under financial pressure. Spain’s been through a recession and cutbacks are common, cycling is no exception. There’s been talk that this could be the last edition of this race. That would be a real shame, it would leave a hole in the calendar and mark yet another race to disappear from the sporting calendar.