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Constantino Zaballa gave Saunier Duval their second consecutive victory in the San Sebastian Classic on Saturday when he broke away in the closing kilometres and was not caught by a chasing group. Zaballa's Saunier Duval team-mate Joaquin Rodriguez took second place ahead of Eddy Mazzolini and Stefano Garzelli. ProTour leader Danilo Di Luca did not score any points but maintains a significant advantage at the top of the standings.
Saunier came into the race in a strong vein of form following Juan Carlos Dominguez's victory in the Tour of Burgos this past week. They were represented by Ruben Lobato in the main break of the day that comprised eight riders, of whom Christophe Moreau and Patxi Vila were the last to be caught when the race reached the key climb, the Jaizkibel.
CSC's Carlos Sastre split the peloton savagely on the mountain that looks along the coast into France, but he was passed by Denis Menchov, who led Levi Leipheimer and Luis Perez over the summit. There was a regrouping on the descent, but going over the subsequent small climb of the Gurutze six riders got clear, and it was from this group that Zaballa made his winning move as they entered the central streets of San Sebastian.
Zaballa, who was ninth last year, admitted this was the best win of his career, a shade above the Vuelta he won last year. "I'm a rider who is not all that well known and because of that I think they let me get away at the end," said Zaballa of his late attack." The victory comes at a good time for Zaballa, whose representatives are in the process of renegotiating his contract.
While Zaballa's future has yet to be decided, climber Jos Angel Gomez Marchante has tied himself to the Spanish team for another two seasons, in spite of a good offer from the Discovery Channel team. Sprinter Francisco Ventoso is also set to sign a new deal with Saunier.
1 Constantino Zaballa (Spa) Saunier Duval-Prodir 227km in 5.24.18
2 Joaquin Rodriguez (Spa) Saunier Duval 0.31
3 Eddy Mazzoleni (Ita) Lampre-Caffita
4 Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi
5 Yon Bru (Spa) Kaiku
6 David Moncouti (Fra) Cofidis
7 Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) Euskaltel
8 Unai Yus (Spa) Bouygues Telecom 0.40
9 Leonardo Bertagnolli (Ita) Cofidis
10 Samuel Sanchez (Spa) Euskaltel 0.43
12 Chris Horner (USA) Saunier Duval
16 Cadel Evans (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto
17 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-Caffita
18 Carlos Sastre (Spa) CSC
24 Francisco Mancebo (Spa) Illes Balears
26 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Gerolsteiner 1.06
Zaballa takes San SebastianClose
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