What's Cool In Road Cycling

Freire: “It was an Occasion I Couldn’t Miss”

– Reported by Gazzetta dello Sport –

SARREBRUCK, 8 July 2002 – “It’s a question of mentality – said the Spaniard from Mapei, a valuable rider who will be on the free market next year – I’m not yet in my top physical condition, but when one races in something as important as the Tour, the motivation comes.” The sprint was a masterpeice of his, very similar to the sprint that last October left Bettini behind at Worlds. Friere put his wheel in front of Zabel and McEwen, lining up behind the Australian when the “train” of Hondo and Fagnini took control of the front of the bunch. “Sprints are never easy – recounts Friere, in his first Tour appearance – This was difficult because of the course, changing and dangerous, there were many people in the streets. To not risk too much, I had to pay constant attention”.

When the group reeled in the final breakaway, that of the Frenchman Hinault, Oscar was ready for a duel with Zabel. “It was obvious it would finish in a sprint. Arriving in Germany, with the Telekom team extremely strong and intending to put Zabel forward. It was an occasion they couldn’t miss, also for me…” absent from Flanders for a muscle pull, Oscar has taken care of his back problems: “I’m not guaranteed to be 100 percent, but right now I have no problems”.

Fastman Mario Cipollini has been missed, “On the absence of Mario, one feels the loss of our great sprinter – said Dario Frigo – Many have focused much on the Giro, but one knows the rules of the Tour…” In accordance is Ivan Basso, who commented much the same on the sprint: “Freire we know, if he is taken to the last meters, he won’t lose. We Italian will perhaps have to wait for the mountains”.

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