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Road Racing

Alaphilippe sprints to his first Clásica San Sebastián win

After escaping on the final climb, Julian Alaphilippe sprints to victory in Clásica San Sebastián Saturday in Spain.

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After escaping on the final climb with Bauke Mollema, Julian Alaphilippe out-sprinted the Trek-Segafredo rider to win Clásica San Sebastián Saturday in Spain.

Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) is coming off of a sterling Tour de France that saw him win the king of the mountains classification as well as two stages. French champion Anthony Roux (Groupama-FDJ) was third in the sprint from a small chase group at the end of the 228.7km race.

“I’ve had a good season,” said Alaphilippe. “I was well placed for this sprint. I waited until the last moment because I knew the climb was very difficult and when Mollema decided to go for it I followed him.”

The finale was marred by a major crash in the peloton on a straight road that caught out a few favorites with around 20 kilometers to go.

Most notably, climbers Mikel Landa (Movistar) and Egan Bernal (Team Sky) were forced to abandon due to injuries. Emergency staff put a neck brace on Landa before moving him onto a stretcher. Bernal was also taken off the road on a stretcher.

Colombian Bernal suffered “a serious facial trauma.”

“He is awake and talking. He has had a precautionary scan to assess for further injuries which revealed a nasal fracture and maxillary injury,” Team Sky said in a statement.

The 21-year-old will remain in hospital overnight for observation and further treatment.

Movistar said Landa was left in “huge pain” with a sore back and placed in an immobilizing brace. He was set to undergo exams to determine the extent of his injuries.

LottoNL-Jumbo’s Antwan Tolhoek hit out with about nine kilometers to go on the early slopes of Alto de Murgil.

As the slope pitched up to 17 percent gradient, he was joined by Groupama-FDJ’s Rudy Molard. The duo had a slight lead over the chase group of four riders, but it wouldn’t hold.

Mollema rode clear and caught the early escapees. He was followed by Alaphilippe over the top of the last climb.

Tolhoek and Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing) chased about 30 seconds behind into the final kilometer, but they would not be able to catch the lead duo.

Alaphilippe led out the sprint with 500 meters to go, nervously checking over his shoulder to see if the chasers were approaching.

They weren’t, leaving it up to him and his Dutch companion to sprint for the win.

Mollema had no response to Alaphilippe’s turn of speed, and the Frenchman won his first Txapela Basque beret — the traditional prize given to the victor of Clásica San Sebastián.

Results will be available once stage has completed.

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