Cycling enthusiasts always have a special soft spot when it comes to classic cycling tests, due to the fact they all have a defining characteristic of being able to combine and compress all the emotion and competitiveness of competitions into a single brief but intense event. Spain is lucky enough to host one of these events – The Clásica de San Sebastian, but why is this event so popular amongst fans and athletes?
This event is included in the official circuit of the UCI World Tour, who prestige is only surpassed by the legendary European Classics: Milan-San Remo, Paris-Roubaix and the Tour de Flanders, veteran races backed by a plethora of history, although perfectly comparable to the San Sebastian in terms of participants.
Since being created in 1981, the Clásica de San Sebastian has always taken place on the last Saturday of July or the first of August.
A Spectacle on Two Wheels
Both starting and finishing in the city of San Sebastian, Guipúzcoa, the distance traveled by cyclists usually varies in each edition of the competition, however it is almost always around 220 kilometers; Something which has never varied however, is the inclusion of the Jaizquibel – A demanding climb which punishes those who favor speed and rewards those who are accustomed to hill climbs – Without a doubt the most symbolic and demanding turning point of the race.
As to be expected, there is always a vast amount of Basque cyclists on the starting line, local enthusiasts of the event who on more than one occasion have managed to claim victory; However the nature of the event has attracted international fame as well and as a result, the San Sebastian is often host to many foreign participants. The sports level in this event is always outstanding, as is the prestige which proceeds it.
The route is comprised of roads both inland and coastal, of three different provinces of the País Vasco, providing spectators watching on TV, a succession of green landscapes which have been converted into the battlefield for our heroes striving for victory.
The Clásica de San Sebastián – The Cyclist’s Party
Spectacle always goes hand in hand with the Clásica de San Sebastián; Thousands of fans accompany cyclists on their journey, proving year after year just how passionate these lands are about the sport.
The mountain passes that make up part of the event divide the numbers – Only the strongest and best devised strategies can triumph the test and reach the finish line in Donosti, situated in the city boulevard surrounded by the picturesque Concha bay. With the city dressed accordingly for the event, the final stretch is always vibrant and festive, something that is further intensified when there is an on- going tie to the finish line.
During its almost four decades of history, this year being it’s 36th edition, the podium of the Clásica de San Sebastián has welcomed both great Spanish and foreign champions such as Marino Lejarreta, the cyclist who has won the event the most times, as well as other outstanding participants such as Miguel Indurain, Gianni Bugno, Laurent Jalabert and Alejandro Valverde. If you have enjoyed learning about this event, we encourage you to discover another classic Spanish cycling competition – La Vuelta Ciclista a España.