Triple World Champ Oscar Freire has started his 2007 season with a victory at the first race of the Challenge Mallorca, the Trofeo Mallorca this Sunday. The Spaniard haunted by injuries and successive come-backs had been suffering from saddle problems in 2005, which required an operation and made it impossible for him to participate in the Vuelta and the World's that year. Last season, Freire was again unlucky and had to fight with spinal cervical problems throughout the year, even though he was able to show the wealth of his talent in early August when he won the Hamburg Cyclassics.
The Rabobank sprinter spent the whole of his off-season consulting doctors in a bid to recover his health. "I went from doctor to doctor during three months," he told Spanish media. "I stopped counting the treatments that I started, as it worsened every time. I got fed up with the doctors, so I chose to stop any kind of therapy. I just rested and laid out a training schedule not as aggressive as the last years. This way, I came to Mallorca feeling fresh."
Of course, Freire still feels pain in his neck. "You never get used to it, but I conditioned myself so that it doesn't affect me too much," he continued. "After my best moments, I've always experienced pain. I'm sure I would have been a much better cyclists if it hadn't been for all of these injuries."
But his victory in Palma de Mallorca boosted Freire's confidence for this year. "This triumph gives me lots of morale," he commented. "I clearly beat two of my greatest rivals this season, Boonen and Zabel. I'm happy!"