Freire's Milan-Sanremo hattrick continues good year for the Rabobank Spaniard
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Saturday, March 20, 2010

Freire's Milan-Sanremo hattrick continues good year for the Rabobank Spaniard

by Bjorn Haake at 3:50 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling

Oscar Freire took Milano-Sanremo for the third time in his career, after having won in 2004 and 2007. This was already his fifth win of the season and he has now less pressure for the rest of the year. He ensured this with a strong sprint on the Lungomare finishing strait in Sanremo, where he left behind Tom Boonen and Alessandro Petacchi.

Freire couldn't help but be impressed with his own season. "I have now done five sprints and I won four of them," he said in an interview on Rabobank's website. "Last year, I started really badly, with the crash in the Tour of California, and that sort of carried through the season." This year, everything went right. "My form was good already, it is just too bad that I was sick in Tirreno-Adriatico. The last few stages I felt well again. I didn't want to take a risk and didn't test myself there. Now, I hope to carry the form forward."

The race itself didn't actually start too well for the Spaniard. After a crash in the tunnel of the Turchino, the peloton had broken into two. Even though Freire was in the right part of the split, he had little team support. "Only Bram Tanking and Tom Leezer were still with me. A flat tire could have been bad news. Luckily, others came back later, so it became less hectic."

Clearcut tactic in the end

Things in the end looked much more promising. "Together with Paul Martens I could handle myself well and in the end there is only one goal: staying near the front."

Freire had a clear vision of his tactic, noticing that Liquigas put all its eggs in the Bennati basket. "So he was the guy I needed to keep in check and that is why I chose to follow his wheel in the last two kilometers."

Freire agrees that his win is extraordinary, but also said that "Milano-Sanremo is not special just for me - it is special for anybody. The list of winners contains really only big names and everybody wants to put their name up there."

And of course it is a good indicator how the rest of the competitions can be tackled. "It is the first important race of the season. If you win this, you begin the year well."

Freire laughed at the thought of the three-year intervals, which would mean he'd have to win La Classicissima again in 2013. "That would be nice! But I don't think so. Next year, I can still race, but I don't think I will race in 2013. I really enjoy La Primavera and I am glad I could shape it with three wins."



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