They say consistency is the key to success and for Simon Clarke, that certainly rings true. The 35-year old Australian scored his third podium result of the season today, sprinting to an impressive third place at the one-day Gran Premio Miguel Indurain.
“Today was a good day. It’s great to be able to rack up a few points for the team,” said Clarke, who came into the race after a solid block of racing at Volta Ciclista a Catalunya last week. It appeared to be the perfect preparation for today’s hit out.
Today was a good day. It’s great to be able to rack up a few points for the team.
The peloton awoke on Saturday morning to see heavy snow had fallen in the Basque Country, causing the race route to be altered with three long climbs removed from the parcours and the race shortened to 191 kilometers.
“Honestly, it was a pretty tough day. The conditions were borderline raceable, particularly at the start. Fortunately, the weather improved and even though we still got snowed on a fair bit, we were able to race. I just tried to make the most of it. The course changed and probably suited me better and normally, I would have been happy with that. But we were conscious of having to race in the snow, and I wasn’t really thinking about anything other than that.”
After some late attacks were neutralized, Clarke dug deep on the short, final climb and was able to reach the top in fourth place before tackling the short, technical descent to the finish line. He hit the front with 300 meters to go to launch his sprint but wasn’t able to hold off Warren Barguil (Arkea Samsic) and Aleksandr Vlasov (Bora – hansgrohe) who claimed first and second respectively, to leave Clarke to round out the podium.
“There were some quite dangerous attacks going with 15 or so kilometers to go with the guys from Movistar and Cofidis but I knew I had to put everything in on the final climb and I focused on that, hoping that some of the teams that had missed the move would close the gap, which they were able to do. It all came back down to that final climb and getting over that before positioning myself for the sprint, which was tricky. I was in the second wheel coming into the sprint which made me a fraction too far forward. I just tried lay off the wheel and do the best sprint possible and unfortunately, the race was 20 meters longer than I needed it to be.”
After today’s hit out in Spain, Clarke is set to return to the familiar territory of Amstel Gold Race next Sunday, where he finished second in 2019.
“It’s good to be back on the podium and good signs for next weekend,” summed up Clarke.