Freire is back, beats Greipel in Tofeo Cala Millor
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Monday, February 08, 2010

Freire is back, beats Greipel in Tofeo Cala Millor

by VeloNation Press at 12:06 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results
 

Rabobank's triple World Champion Oscar Freire sprinted to victory on the second stage of the Mallorca Challenge today.  He beat HTC-Columbia's André Greipel and Footon-Servetto-Fuji's Manuel Cardoso to the line, with the pair finishing second and third respectively. With his win over the powerful German sprinter, Freire announced his return to form after a thin 2009 where the Spaniard only managed one victory. Freire's win also gives his Dutch team their first success of the 2010 season.

"Already having a win in my second race does indeed have a nice feeling, but we must not get carried away," said Freire. "I'm not much better than last year around the same time," explaining that the margins for victory when sprinting are very small.

The flat 172.4 kilometer stage saw a break of five gain over eight minutes on the field only to be brought back by the charging peloton with 20 kilometers to go.

The Rabobank team took control for the finish, forcing the young Cardoso to start his sprint early. "Rabobank launched the finish with five riders, I felt I was losing the winning position and tried it with 300 meters to go to overtake some leadout riders, but Freire finished it very well and gained half a wheel on me at the line," explained Cardoso, who credits his team for their hard work.

"This podium is another boost for my confidence and will allow me keep working calm; we'll see if I can put up with the cols in the last stage and contest the sprint, which I'm still not very sure," he added.

After recently winning the Tour Down Under in convincing style, Greipel was the easy favorite for the day. But as is often the case, Freire showed the burst of speed that brought him his three world titles, and along with it, despite playing down the result, added his name to the list of favorites to take his third victory in Milan-Sanremo.

Tomorrow the Mallorca Challenge will take the riders into the mountains on a 157.2 stage that begins and ends in Inca.

Trofeo Cala Millor results:
1. Oscar Freire (Spa / Rabobank) 4u14m21s
2. Andre Greipel (Ger / Team Columbia HTC) z.t.
3. Manuel Antonio Cardoso (Por / Footon-Lotto)
4. Robert Forster (Ger / Milram)
5. Koldo Fernandez (Spa / Euskaltel-Euskadi)
6. Jens Keukeleire (Bel / Cofidis, le Credit and Linge)
7. Jose Joaquin Rojas (Spa / Caisse d'Epargne)
8. Kenny van Hummel (Ned / Skil-Shimano)
9. Kevyn Ista (Bel / Cofidis, le Credit and Linge)
10. Drujon Mathieu (Fra / Caisse d'Epargne)

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