Mollema’s month-long journey ends at his favorite race

From Paris to the Basque Country via Tokyo: Bauke is ready for the race he loves most, while the Trek-Segafredo women line up for the first time in Clásica San Sebastián

The Olympic road cycling binge has been served and consumed. It’s time to return to the significant events on the world calendar, starting this weekend with a double event in the Basque Country: Clásica San Sebástian and Circuito de Getxo. For the first time, in the Donostiako Klasikoa, as the Basques proudly call the Clásica, both the men’s and women’s Trek-Segafredo teams will compete (unfortunately, there is no women’s race in Getxo).

Bauke Mollema (who will race only San Sebastián), Giulio Ciccone, Gianluca Brambilla, Alexander Kamp, Juan Pedro Lopez, Antonio Nibali and Charlie Quarterman will answer the call for the Men’s races, led by team directors Gregory Rast and Markel Irizar.

For the Women, Ruth Winder, Audrey Cordon-Ragot, Ellen van Dijk, Elynor Bäckstedt, Lauretta Hanson, and Shirin van Anrooij will line up, directed by Giorgia Bronzini.

If the women’s team will discover the Clásica San Sebastián for the first time (2021 is the 2nd edition, but Trek-Segafredo did not attend the inaugural event in 2019), much more consolidated is the experience in the men’s team, in particular Bauke Mollema, Trek-Segafredo’s hottest rider this year and a former winner of the Basque classic.

After debuting at the Clásica with a DNF (did not finish) in his first pro-year (2008), Bauke placed in the top 10 in the succeeding years, which included three podiums and a victory (2016).

Undeniably, there’s a special feeling between Mollema and Clásica, to the extent he defines, without hesitation, San Sebastián as his favorite race.

Stage 14 winner Bauke and his flowers.

“There are a mix of factors that make it so,” explains Bauke. “First of all, the atmosphere around the race, which I have enjoyed since my first experience. For the Basques, it’s a very heartfelt event, and the people transmit this healthy passion. The setting of the Basque Country is beautiful; San Sebastián is an incredible city. I always have great pleasure in racing in the region.

“Then comes the route that suits my characteristics and my tastes. It is covered mainly on wide roads, which might seem like a minor detail but allows to relieve a lot of stress in the peloton. For a few years now, the finish has become the defining element of the race, with the steep climb of Murgil Tontorra acting as the launching pad. But before getting there, we need to climb Jaizkibel and Erlaitz. The latter could already be decisive in shaping the development of the race before the final explosion on the last climb.

“The weather is the third factor that makes it a nice race. It may be the time of year or that region itself, but I’ve always found ideal weather to ride, even if the forecast for this Saturday isn’t looking good.”

Bauke Mollema sprays the champagne in the 2016 San Sebastian.

If the course is a solid certainty for Bauke, a little less so is the competition.

“I’m not sure what I can expect this year. It could be a more open and unpredictable race than in other years, where those who came out of the Tour were the top contenders. The Olympic road race is a new element in the race’s approach. Like me, there will be riders who are coming from Japan; others will take advantage of the momentum of the Tour de France, such as Alaphilippe or Lopez, and others again from a rest period, such as Landa or Sanchez.

“For my part, after Tokyo, I thought almost exclusively about recovering. I worked to keep my condition high but, otherwise, my body just needed to rest. From the last stage of the Tour to today, life has been quite hectic. I finished it well, on a crescendo, and I intend to use this solid form for a good race at the Clásica.

Solo is how Bauke likes to take his victory.

It’s similar to what happened in Japan a few days ago. For one-day races, keeping the condition is the key to do well and staying fresh, both physically and mentally. I feel the fatigue after racing the Giro, Tour and Olympics, but I’m more than motivated for Saturday.

“It’s going to be the last day, for the moment where I’m going to push hard and to go deep with all my energy. Then, I’ll have the last break of the season ahead of the final part of the season. I’m happy with my season so far, but why not try to do even better? Roughly, I’ll resume racing in September at the European Championship or Tour of Luxembourg. Then I’ll focus on one-day races in Italy. Step by step, of course. First, there’s my favorite race to tackle.”

From France to Japan to the Basque Country: a full month of big races.

Men’s Team for Clásica San Sebastián 

  • Bauke Mollema (NED)
  • Giulio Ciccone (ITA)
  • Gianluca Brambilla (ITA)
  • Alexander Kamp (DEN)
  • Juan Pedro Lopez (SPN)
  • Antonio Nibali (ITA)
  • Charlie Quarterman (GRB)

Directors: Gregory Rast (SUI)  and Markel Irizar (SPN)


Women’s Team for Clásica San Sebastián 

  • Ruth Winder (USA)
  • Audrey Cordon-Ragot (FRA)
  • Ellen van Dijk (NED)
  • Elynor Bäckstedt (GBR)
  • Lauretta Hanson (AUS)
  • Shirin van Anrooij (NED)

Director: Giorgia Bronzini (ITA)