Carlos Barredo wins San Sebastian Classic race

Kreuziger second, Delage third

Spain's Carlos Barredo surprised the favourites by winning the San Sebastian Classic race in Spain's northern Basque region on Saturday, edging Czech rider Roman Kreuziger in a sprint.

The pair were seven seconds ahead of a group led by Frenchman Mickael Delage at the end of the 237-kilometre mountainous course that begins and ends in the coastal city.

But the favourite and last year's winner Alejandro Valverde, who was ruled out of the Tour de France over doping allegations, finished back in 17th place, in the race, held in wet conditions.

Barredo, of the Quick Step team, launched attacks on the descents of the last two hills, Jaizkibel and Arikale, with a number of riders going with him, including the road race gold medalist from the Beijing Olympics, Samuel Sanchez of Spain.

Finally, Kreuziger and Barredo broke away in the last five kilometres, and the peloton was unable to respond.

"I never expected a win at this level. The descent from Jaizkibel was dangerous but in a race like the San Sebastian Classic you have to take a risk to have any chance of winning," said the 28-year-old Barredo after the most important win of his five-year professional career.

Tour de France winner Alberto Contador did not take part in the San Sebastian race, one of the top one-day events on the UCI ProTour, although until Friday his name had been on the official list of participants.

This year's San Sebastian race had added interest in that 80 points were up for grabs for the winner on the UCI ProTour, double the number previously.

© AFP 2009

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