Clasica Ciclista San Sebastian

Clasica San Sebastian

Tomorrow sees the Clasica Ciclista San Sebastian race. It’s a good race in one of the heartlands of cycling… yet it’s struggling financially with race organiser El Diario Vasco, like many other newspapers, unsure whether to continue with the event. The field sees a mix of Tour de France heroes meet fresher challengers, the course is such that a variety of riders can win.

San Sebastian is a coastal city and the capital of the Gipuzkoa province in the Basque region of Spain. There’s plenty of politics here but sidestepping this, the area is one of the most prosperous in Spain thanks to plenty of active manufacturing. You’ll find brands like BH, Orbea and Exteondo from the area and of course, Euskaltel. The famous orange-clad cycling team represents the Basque region and this is their home race.

San Sebastian itself is set on two sweeping bays with mountains behind. It’s 234km with the Jaizkibel and Arkal each climbed twice in the latter half of the race and as such it’s an race of attrition where the field of favourites is whittled down by the climbing involved. It’s surely Spain’s greatest one day race and is on the UCI World Tour calendar.

San Sebastian view
Looks ok, no?

But the race has been struggling to make ends meet. Putting on such a big race has its costs, from prize funds to accommodation for teams, to all the logistical expenses involved. Against this there’s income from publicity associated with the race and the sale of TV images but I don’t know what the deal is here with the TV rights. In big races organisers can command big revenues from broadcasters but for smaller stage races on the Spanish calendar the organiser themselves pays a TV production company to film the event as the TV publicity is a draw for teams and race sponsors.

So a good field, passionate roadside fans, an exciting route and even scenic vistas along the way… yet there’s talk of the race coming to an end. Yes Spain is beset with woes after a construction and property booms collapsed, with chronic unemployment and government cutbacks. But all the same, even if the organising newspaper wants to pull out you’d hope others would be interested in promoting this top race.

9 thoughts on “Clasica Ciclista San Sebastian”

  1. It’s a shame it doesn’t have wider publicity. I was looking forward to tuning in, especially since the line up looks quite good, but Eurosport aren’t showing it in the UK. It’s not the same watching a low quality stream on the internet

  2. Flanders did a great job with bundling classics as Paris-Roubaix and Tour of Flanders into “Flanders Classics”

    Essentially, the same has happend with Amstel Gold, Fleche Wallone and LBL. Althuogh they don’t have the same organisers, they are working together quite well and are connected through the calendar.

    The UCI should enforce the same with the Clasica San Sebastian, Tour of Lombardia and Paris-Tours. Then they can double their attraction and marketvalue as “Autumn Classics”

    The current period in between the Tour and the Vuelta is a more quiet period and doesn’t attract much interest. For example, I always forget after a day or so the winner of Hamburg HEW/Vattenfall.

  3. What we really need is the 10-event “World Cup” back.
    San Sebastian actually meant something and single-day classics riders had even better recognition.
    Especially for those races following le Tour.

  4. Speaking of politics and cycling, what do you make of the new Giro Di Padania launched by Lega Nord in Italy? The idea creeps me out, and for once I really hope this race fails and fails hard.

  5. As others have alluded to, the timing probably needs changing. Surely the one day races could be grouped better. The period of races in the Spring is great and help to build anticipation for each race that follows.

    It is logical following the TDF with stage races (Poland and the ENECO), leading into the Vuelta. Alternatively we have the one day races starting in late September (Vattenfall, Plouay, Canada). How about San Sebastian moving to a week before Vattenfall?

    It seems odd that San Sebastian doesn’t even get TV coverage on a channel like Eurosport, yet new races in Canada do. Having said that, I don’t ever remember getting to see GP Plouay live and that seems to be a good race.

    Is the real problem that other races are now sold in batches (i.e. if you pay for the Tour de France I’ve read that you end up having to buy a package including other ASO races)? If you are already showing 100+ days of cycling (on a channel like Eurosport), do you really want to bother negotiating for coverage of a single race in Spain?

  6. This is interesting in the context of certain directors whining about getting a share of the booty from TdF. Does that mean they’ll pony up their own euros for races that lose money too? I doubt it. I’m happy TdF seems to turn a profit but don’t think ASO needs to take over the whole of cycling, they’ve got enough already! But when you take a step back and think of the almost constant din of dope scandal after dope scandal and how some of them drag on for more than a year without a definitive decision, is it any wonder races are struggling to find sponsors? These short-sighted riders and directors, aided and abetted by the UCI, need to take a look at what they’re doing to our sport. They’re killing it off slowly but surely. Even die-hard fans no longer care much about the big races when so often the “winners” turn out to be dope cheats…and by the time they’re sanctioned and stripped of the title, it’s handed to the next guy…who turns out to be a dope cheat. When will it end?

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