It was the 237mk San Sebastian Classic or maybe just stage 22 of the Tour de France. Just depends whether you like tapas or rabbit pate, a bottle of Rioja or Burgundy.
It wasn’t the fresh legs who dominated the race but instead the tough riders just coming off the French grand tour. Stage winners Pierrick Fedrigo (Bbox Bouygues Telecom) and Luis Leon Sanchez (Caisee d’Epargne) animated much of the action.
Fedrigo and Carlos Barredo (Quickstep) went over the Arkale climb six seconds ahead of a chase group of Sanchez, Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas) and Kim Kirchen (Columbia-HTC). All these riders had over 2200 miles in their legs from the tour while a well-rested Alejandro Valverde was stuck in the main group. (He probably took the time to study legal documents concerning his possible 2 year UCI suspension.)
With 2 kilometers left, on on the wet, dangerous descent into San Sebastian, Kreuzinger attacked passing Sanchez and Barredo. The Quickstep rider was able to bridge back up and take the sprint in the final 200 meters. Barredo was ecstatic, the kind of life-altering joy you have winning a tour stage.
Yes, stage 22 was an exciting one in the Tour de France. Really, the only thing missing was some Armstrong & Contador bickering. No, wait. It was the Clasica San Sebastian. Sorry, it’s only 20 kilometers to the French border and it sure seemed like the tour.