Óscar Freire

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For the street in São Paulo, see Rua Oscar Freire.
Óscar Freire
Óscar Freire TR 2011.jpg
Freire at the 2011 Tour de Romandie
Personal information
Full name Óscar Freire Gómez
Nickname The Cat, Oscarito
Born (1976-02-15) 15 February 1976 (age 38)
Torrelavega, Spain
Height 1.71 m (5 ft 7 in)
Weight 64 kg (141 lb)
Team information
Current team Retired
Discipline Road
Role Rider
Rider type Sprinter
Professional team(s)
1998–1999 Vitalicio Seguros
2000–2002 Mapei-Quick Step
2003–2011 Rabobank
2012 Team Katusha
Major wins

Grand Tours

Tour de France
Points classification (2008)
4 individual stages
Vuelta a España
7 individual stages

Stage races

Tirreno–Adriatico (2005)

One-day races and Classics

World Road Race Championship (1999, 2001, 2004)
Milan – San Remo (2004, 2007, 2010)
Ghent-Wevelgem (2008)
Vattenfall Cyclassics (2006)
Paris-Tours (2010)
Brabantse Pijl (2005, 2006, 2007)

Óscar Freire Gómez (born 15 February 1976) is a former Spanish professional road bicycle racer. He was one of the top sprinters in road bicycle racing, having won the world championship three times, equalling Alfredo Binda, Rik Van Steenbergen and Eddy Merckx. In the later years of his career, he has been more of a classics rider. He has won the cycling monument Milan – San Remo three times, four stages in the Tour de France and seven stages of the Vuelta a España, throughout a successful career.

Despite his diminutive stature, Freire was a good sprinter. He had a training philosophy where he rode shorter distances than most pro cyclists, sometimes covering only about half the distance his colleagues would.[1]

Career[edit]

Vitalicio Seguros (1998–1999)[edit]

Born in Torrelavega, Cantabria, Freire became professional in 1998 with Vitalicio Seguros. He won one race that year, a stage of the Vuelta a Castilla y León. He came 11th in Paris–Tours. In 1999, Freire won little until the world championship in October. He went to Verona to make up numbers in the Spanish team. He spent his prize on an elevator for his grandmother's apartment.

Mapei-Quick Step (2000–2002)[edit]

Freire joined Mapei in 2000. It had been ranked best team since 1994. That year he won 11 races including two stages in the Vuelta a España. He also came third place in the world championship. In 2001 he won two races and took the points competition in the Vuelta a Burgos, before becoming world champion for the second time. In 2002 he won a stage in the Tour de France.

Rabobank (2003–2011)[edit]

In 2003, Freire moved to Rabobank, where in his first season he won six races. In 2004 he won Milan – San Remo, Trofeo Luis Puig, a stage and second place overall in Tirreno–Adriatico, a stage in the Vuelta a España and for the third time, and the second time in Verona, the world championship. He started 2005 winning three stages, the points classification and the yellow jersey at Tirreno–Adriatico, as well as the Brabantse Pijl, Trofeo Alcudia and Trofeo Mallorca, all before the end of March. His season was then cut short by a saddle sore.

In 2006, Freire won his second consecutive Brabantse Pijl. His stage 3 win at Tirreno–Adriatico allowed him to lead for two days. At the Tour de Suisse, he survived an early break of four riders to win alone on stage 7. Freire won the fifth and ninth stages in the 2006 Tour de France and was contesting the points classification when he retired due to illness. During stage twelve, he was in a breakaway with three others. Freire’s career has been blighted with injury and lay-offs. He had back problems, saddle sores and neck problems. When Yaroslav Popovych, riding for the Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team, rode away for victory, rumours spread that Freire had been ordered by Rabobank not to ride for the victory, to secure help from the Discovery Team in the mountains. Although rumours were denied by both teams, Freire was upset after the stage. Freire continued his successful year by winning the Vattenfall Cyclassics ahead of German favourite Erik Zabel. Freire had half of Rabobank’s victories in 2006. His season was cut short by neck and spinal injuries, forcing him to miss the Vuelta a España and world championship. Freire re-signed for Rabobank in late 2006 until the end of 2008, rejecting Saunier Duval-Prodir.

In the 2007 Tour de France, he did not win a stage, partly because Rabobank was defending Michael Rasmussen's lead for a large part of the race. But he won three stages in the Vuelta a España. In the 2008 Tour, Freire wore the green jersey from stage 8. He won stage 14 and the points classification. In the 2009 Tour he and Julian Dean were shot by an air rifle during the 13th stage from Vittel to Colmar. He was shot in the thigh and finished the stage 117th.[2]

In March 2010, Freire won the 2010 Milan – San Remo in front of Tom Boonen and Alessandro Petacchi.[3] On 10 October 2010 Freire became the first Spaniard to win Paris-Tours and in doing so became the new holder of the Ruban Jaune for setting the fastest average speed in a classic race, he covered the 233 km at an average of 47.73 km per hour.[4]

Shortly before the 2011 UCI Road World Championships it was announced that Óscar Freire would retire at the end of the season if he did not win the World Championship road race. Freire ended negotiations to continue his contract with his team before the race, and noted health issues include worsening respiratory problems, having had sinus and nasal surgery in the last two years. He was unable to race the 2011 Tour de France and was forced to abandon the 2011 Vuelta a España.[5]

Team Katusha (2012)[edit]

Initially, Freire planned to finish his career by 2012, but at the end of season 2011 he suddenly changed his mind. While his home Rabobank team, confused by the situation and Oscar's indecision, failed to provide him an extension for another year, Freire had to start talks with other teams.[6] Omega Pharma-Quick Step, Lotto-Belisol and Geox-TMC expressed their interest to secure his service for season 2012, but Freire chose Team Katusha. He was reported to have been swayed by Team Katusha because the Russian team had a good number of other Spanish riders on its roster along with its well-organised structure and guaranteed entry into WorldTour races.[6]

By 2012 Freire fully recovered from his previous health problems and managed to show very good results at the first opening races. In January he won stage 3 of Australian Tour Down Under, and then completed his success at stage 3 of Vuelta a Andalucia. At the spring classics Oscar Freire finished 7th at Milan – San Remo, while having taken two second places: one at E3 Harelbeke where he was edged on the line by Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quick Step)[7] and the other at the Brabantse Pijl, where he dominated the sprint of the chasers after lone escapee Thomas Voeckler of Team Europcar had crossed the line.[8] He then went on to finish 4th in the Amstel Gold Race. He escaped from the lead group with 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) to cover and held an advantage of 18 seconds at the bottom of the final climb, the Cauberg. He was passed in the final meters, but managed to held on for fourth.[9]

In an interview to the French magazine Velochrono, Freire claimed to take part in the Olympics in London along with the Tour de France and UCI Road World Championships.[10] Freire later admitted that he was contemplating retirement if he didn't win the rainbow jersey, and that he would keep riding for another year or two if he wins the 2012 UCI Championships.[11] He retired from professional cycling at the end of 2012, reportedly refusing a deal from Euskaltel-Euskadi, who would have liked him to race for the 2013 season and then take a post in management.[12] The Basque team was suspected of trying to hoard in Freire's crucial UCI World Tour points, which would help them get a World Tour license for 2013, but the team management denied it.[13]

Palmarès[edit]

1997
2nd Silver medal blank.svg U23 Road Race World Championships
1998
1st Stage 1 Vuelta a Castilla y León
3rd Spanish National Road Race Championships
1999
1st MaillotMundial.PNG Road Race World Championship
2000
Vuelta a España
1st Stages 2 & 4
Tirreno–Adriatico
1st Stages 1 & 6
Vuelta a Aragón
1st Stages 3 & 4
1st Points classification
1st Stage 3 Giro della Provincia di Lucca
1st Stage 3 Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana
1st Trofeo Mallorca
3rd Bronze medal blank.svg Road Race World Championship
3rd Milan – San Remo
2001
1st MaillotMundial.PNG Road Race World Championship
1st Stage 5 Vuelta a Burgos
1st Points classification
1st Stage 4 Deutschland Tour
2002
1st Stage 2 Tour de France
1st Manacor-Porto Cristo
1st Cala Rajada – Cala Millor
2003
1st Jersey yellow.svg Overall Giro della Provincia di Lucca
1st Stage 1 & 2
Vuelta a Andalucía
1st Stage 1 & 2
1st Points classification
1st Stage 7 Tirreno–Adriatico
1st Stage 5 Volta a Catalunya
2004
1st MaillotMundial.PNG Road Race World Championship
1st Milan – San Remo
1st Stage 6 Vuelta a España
1st Stage 3 Tirreno–Adriatico
1st Trofeo Luis Puig
1st Trofeo Cala Millor – Cala Rajada
2005
1st Jersey blue.svg Overall Tirenno-Adriatico
1st Stages 2, 3 & 4
1st Points classification
1st Brabantse Pijl
1st Trofeo Alcudia
1st Trofeo Mallorca
2006
Tour de France
1st Stages 5 & 9
1st Stage 7 Tour de Suisse
1st Stage 4 Vuelta al País Vasco
1st Stage 3 Tirenno-Adriatico
1st Vattenfall Cyclassics
1st Brabantse Pijl
1st RaboRonde Heerlen
2007
1st Milan – San Remo
Vuelta a España
1st Stages 2, 5 & 6
Held Jersey gold.svg Gold jersey wearer From Stages 2–3
1st Trofeo Mallorca
1st Jersey yellow.svg Overall Vuelta a Andalucía
1st Stages 2 & 5
1st Points classification
1st Brabantse Pijl
2nd Vattenfall Cyclassics
3rd Gent–Wevelgem
3rd Paris–Tours
2008
1st Stage 14 Tour de France
1st Jersey green.svg Points Classification
1st Stage 11 Vuelta a España
1st Gent–Wevelgem
1st Stage 1 Tour de Suisse
Tirreno–Adriatico
1st Stages 1, 4 & 6
1st Points classification
2009
Tour de Romandie
1st Stages 2 & 5
2010
1st Milan – San Remo
1st Paris–Tours
1st Trofeo Calla Millor
Vuelta a Andalucía
1st Stages 2 & 3
Vuelta al País Vasco
1st Stages 1 & 2
6th UCI Road World Championships
2011
Vuelta a Andalucía
1st Stages 3 & 4
1st Points classification
6th Amstel Gold Race
9th UCI Road World Championships
2012
1st Stage 4 Tour Down Under
1st Stage 3 Vuelta a Andalucía
2nd E3 Harelbeke
2nd Brabantse Pijl
4th Amstel Gold Race
7th Milan – San Remo
10th UCI Road World Championships

Classics results[edit]

Year Milan-San Remo Gent-Wevelgem Tour of Flanders Brabantse Pijl Amstel Gold Race La Flèche Wallonne Liège–Bastogne–Liège Clásica de San Sebastián HEW/Vattenfall Cyclassics UCI Road World Championships Giro di Lombardia Paris–Tours
1998 45th 72nd 17th
1999 1st
2000 3rd 9th 5th 13th 3rd 13th 44th
2001 1st 21st 2nd
2002 5th 5th 19th 22nd 11th 25th 156th 26th 11th
2003 7th 38th 30th 2nd 14th 51st 35th 83rd 9th 49th 42nd
2004 1st 23rd 14th 32nd 14th 11th 4th 1st 3rd
2005 5th 1st 10th 5th 96th
2006 6th 1st 17th 75th 14th 1st
2007 1st 3rd 49th 1st 8th 11th 77th 2nd 14th DNF 2nd
2008 8th 1st 40th 37th 19th 33rd 11th 38th 18th
2009 64th 58th 14th 15th 5th
2010 1st 12th 9th 14th 88th 6th DNF 1st
2011 94th 11th 6th 15th 72nd 9th 20th
2012 7th 4th 12th 2nd 4th 83rd 24th 10th

References[edit]

  1. ^ "2012 Tour Down Under: It’s a sprinters affair". On The Record (On The Record). 12 January 2012. Retrieved 21 September 2012. 
  2. ^ "Freire, Dean shot at during Tour stage". Cycling News (Future Publishing Limited). 17 July 2009. Retrieved 16 December 2012. 
  3. ^ "Milan-San Remo 2010: Spain's Oscar Freire wins in sprint finish". Telegraph. 20 February 2010. Retrieved 30 March 2010. 
  4. ^ Cyclingnews.com Gives details of 2010 edition of Paris-Tours.
  5. ^ Cyclingnews.com Freire: World title or retirement.
  6. ^ a b "Freire confirms he wants to race in 2012". Telegraph. 6 November 2011. Retrieved 24 April 2012. 
  7. ^ Richard Abraham (23 March 2012). "Boonen wins E3 Harelbeke". Cycling Weekly (IPC Media Sports & Leisure network). Retrieved 21 September 2012. 
  8. ^ "Brabantse Pijl 2012 results". Velo News (2012 Competitor Group, Inc.). 11 April 2012. Retrieved 21 September 2012. 
  9. ^ Wynn, Nigel (15 April 2012). "Gasparotto wins Amstel Gold Race". Cycling Weekly (IPC Media Limited). Retrieved 6 January 2013. 
  10. ^ "2012 will be final curtain for Freire". Cycling News. 12 January 2012. Retrieved 24 April 2012. 
  11. ^ "After Amstel, Freire said he now believed he could win a fourth rainbow jersey". Cycling News. 16 April 2012. Retrieved 24 April 2012. 
  12. ^ "Freire turned down Euskaltel-Euskadi offer for 2013". Cycling News (Future Publishing Limited). 22 October 2012. Retrieved 16 December 2012. 
  13. ^ Andrew Hood (5 October 2012). "Euskaltel-Euskadi denies 'deal for points' with Oscar Freire". Velo News (2012 Competitor Group, Inc.). Retrieved 16 December 2012. 

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Paolo Bettini
Filippo Pozzato
Mark Cavendish
Winner of Milan – San Remo
2004
2007
2010
Succeeded by
Alessandro Petacchi
Fabian Cancellara
Matthew Goss
Preceded by
Oscar Camenzind
Romāns Vainšteins
Igor Astarloa
Winner of UCI Road World Championships – Men's road race
1999
2001
2004
Succeeded by
Romāns Vainšteins
Mario Cipollini
Tom Boonen