Oscar Freire responds bitterly to yesterday's relegation in the Basque Country
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Saturday, April 9, 2011

Oscar Freire responds bitterly to yesterday's relegation in the Basque Country

by Jered Gruber at 5:25 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Rabobank sprinter asked Gavazzi "if he was not ashamed to go on stage."

Three-time World Road Champion, Oscar Freire, is none too pleased with his relegation from yesterday's Stage Five sprint and victory. The fastman took a clear victory over Lampre-ISD's Francesco Gavazzi, but saw it taken away just as he was preparing to step on to the winner's podium.

"It's a scandal," moaned the 35 year old to De Telegraaf after receiving the news.

Freire's bitterness at losing his win extended to the day's eventual winner.

"I asked him if he was not ashamed to go on stage. Nobody expected this, I was the strongest there and there is no doubt about it."

The Spaniard, a three-time winner of Milano-Sanremo, was part of a hands-on finale, which included both he and his teammate, Luis Leon Sanchez, moving riders about in the bunch with their hands, which isn't all that unheard of, but it was the final push did them in.

Sanchez had been hugging the barriers, but when he realized that his teammate was coming on his inside by the barriers, he moved over, and gave Freire a friendly push. The question is whether the push was significant or just a hand on the back as in the midst of a sprint encouragement.

There's no questioning the dubious nature of the move though, and it's difficult to imagine Freire and Sanchez not getting relegated for the move, no matter how little it affected the sprint.

Nevertheless, the winner of two stages and the points classification at the Vuelta a Andalucia earlier this season remains outraged.

"I'm very surprised about what happened. It's just not fair."

Gavazzi's good feelings of success, his first of the season, might have been lessened a bit by the news from the Mantova investigation in which his name is included as one of the 32 people allegedly involved in the Italian doping ring.



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