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Luis Leon Sanchez secures another win on his Rabobank Team Giant
CBD Cycles - 15/08/2012
After a perfectly timed attack late in the race, Luis Leon Sanchez (Rabobank) has a moment to savor his San Sebastian victory.

Luis León Sánchez (Rabobank) won his second San Sebastian Classic with a daring attack inside the final 10 kilometres. The 2010 winner picked up his seventh win of the year, holding off a chase group of favourites. Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge) finished second and Gianni Meersman (Lotto Belisol) third.

Sanchez made his move after the final climb of the race, seizing on a moment of hesitation as two groups merged on the descent Arkale. Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) and Richie Porte (Team Sky) led a counter attack but their aggression was nullified and although Sanchez never had more than a 13 second lead he held on for his second San Sebastian title in three years.

Sanchez has arguably enjoyed his best season to date with a stage win in this year’s Tour de France to add to wins in Paris-Nice and Romandie. Today he showed his class as a rider, tentatively following the attacks on the day’s four climbs before going it alone. His Rabobank teammates attempted to nullify any further moves from the front and left Sanchez with plenty of time to celebrate in front of the Spanish crowd.

The early stages of the race were marked by a flurry of attacks. However it wasn't until the kilometre 35 before any break was successful. The veteran Adrian Palomares joined Javier Aramendia while the bunch were content to wait for the two ascents each over the Jaizikbel and Arkale. The pair established a lead of 12 minutes but Movistar, Sky and Katusha were slowly beginning to lay down their foundations, and by the lower slopes of the Jaizikbel the lead was under a minute. Movistar, eager to lay down a marker before the start of the Vuelta created most of the destruction, dislodging passengers from the peloton until a group of 50 remained.

Palomares and Aramendia were soon reeled in and it was Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Eros Capecchi (Liquigas) who were next with a succession of attacks. Their tactics thinned out the peloton further, although Tomasz Marcynski (Vacansoleil-DCM) was able to join them. They failed to establish a lead but Liquigas weren't done yet and Tiziano Dall'Antonia was their next rider to hear the order to attack through his earpiece.

Again, Marcynski joined the move and the pair created a minute of daylight between themselves and the bunch on the descent of the Arkale. Astana, working for Alexandre Vinokourov, and Lampre, working for Damiano Cunego and to stop Liquigas, formed a chase but as they began the approach to the Jaizkibel for the second and final time, Rigoberto Uran (Sky) surged ahead. Company came briefly from Sergio Paulinho (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) however the former Tour stage winner soon sat up.

The lead group of favourites included Vinokourov, Cunego, Jurgen van den Broeck, Sanchez, Bauke Mollema, Joaquim Rodriguez, Riche Porte and Alejandro Valverde.

On the descent of the Jaizikbel the lead changed again, with Sergio Henao (Team Sky) joining Marczynski, Rafael Valls Ferri, Gorka Izagirre Insausti and Rafal Majka.

Movistar organised the chase behind, pegging the five to 15 seconds before the final climb of the race. Henao, clearly the strongest of the five, accelerated on the climb, dropping the other four as the climbers in the peloton realised that their only chance of a win was evaporating in the Spanish heat.

Rodriguez sent a teammate to the front to wind things up and near the summit the Giro runner up attacked. However he was unable to create any serious gaps, with a number of riders able to mark him on the slopes.

The Katusha leader’s attack did bring Henao back and on the descent to San Sebastian there was a reforming as two groups of riders merged on the wide run-in. Sanchez immediately saw his chance, whipping through the gears and away from the field. Porte counter attacked but he was caught by Rodriguez and Mollema. With Rabobank blocking and Sanchez strong enough to maintain his advantage all the way to the line.

With only a couple of the Team Rabobank TCR Advanced SL0's left for 2012, get in quick to CBD Cycles to get your hands on a San Sebastian winner!