After the spectacular racing at the Tour de France, the UCI WorldTour continues this weekend with the Clasica San Sebastian on Saturday and the weeklong Tour de Pologne.
The Clasica is the biggest one-day race in Spain and includes the iconic Alto Jaizkibel climb before a thrilling finish in the centre of San Sebastian. The Tour de Pologne begins with two stages in the Dolomite mountains of Italy before transferring to Krakow for five testing stages.
Both race offer precious UCI WorldTour points and could spark changes in the individual, team and nation rankings. Chris Froome (Team Sky) leads the individual rankings after dominating the Tour de France. He has a total of 587 points and currently leads Peter Sagan
(Cannondale) by 178 points, with Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) third a further 19 points behind. Team Sky also leads the team standings, while Spain leads the nations ranking.
A tough Clasica
The Clasica di San Sebastian covers a tough 232km route that starts ands finishes in the stunning seaside city of San Sebastian in the heart of the northern Basque Country region. The riders roll out past the stunning Bahia de La Concha and then race in the hills all day before diving back to the coast for the finish.
They have to climb the Alto Jaizkibel and the Alto Arkale twice. The last climb ends just 15km from the finish and will surely force the decisive selection of riders who will then go on the attack in sight of San Sebastian or wait for the sprint finish.
The Spanish riders always target victory in the Clasica San Sebastian in the hope of pulling on the Basque Beret awarded to every winner.Â
Samuel Sanchez leads the local Euskaltel-Euskadi team but teammates Mikel Astarloza and Mikel Nieve are perhaps in better form after riding well at the Tour de France.
Alejandro Valverde leads the Movistar team and could again join up with Nairo Quintana to repeat their strength of the Tour de France.Â
Other contenders include Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp), Michel Albasini (Orica-GreenEdge), Jan Bakelants (Radioshack-Leopard), world champion Philippe Gilbert (BMC) and Richie Porte (Team Sky).
Nibali and Wiggins in action in Poland
While one part of the UCI WorldTour competes in Spain, another part will gather in Italy for the 70thÂ edition of the Tour of Pologne.
The opening stages in Italy end with finishes in the mountains at Madonna di Campiglio and Passo Pordoi. The race transfer to Poland on the Monday and then continues with five testing in the south of Poland near Krakow.
Giro d'Italia winner Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and 2012 Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) stand out on the star-filled start list.Â Both are returning to action after a block of intense training but should be competitive on the mountain stages to Zakopane and Bukowina Tatrzanska. Wiggins will Likely have the upper hand for the final stage 37km time trial to Krakow but will have to beat Fabian Cancellara (Radioshack-Leopard) if he also wants to the stage victory.
The racing is expected to be open and aggressive because each team will only have six riders instead of the usual eight as part of a new pilot project initiated by the UCI.