By Shane Stokes in Luzern
Former triple world champion Oscar Freire was aiming for a strong ride in the second stage of the Tour de Suisse but instead finished back in 125th place. He was one of many riders who were delayed by a crash in the final kilometre.
Prior to the start he had told Cyclingnews that he was pinning all of his hopes on the race to Luzern. "I will go for the stage today. We are in a very hard race and we [sprinters] don't have a lot of opportunities. Today is the only one, really."
The Spaniard has had a career littered with injuries but thus far he has had no serious setbacks in 2007. He had a frustrating end to the season last year due to a mystery neck problem. That settled down and appears to be staying at bay. "Until now, my neck is not a problem," he said. "I have to wait and see how it is because I haven't done a very long race yet. I will see how it is here, but I am happy with things thus far."
Freire won Milan San Remo earlier this season. He's not sure what stage his fitness is at but should get an important insight this week. "We will see how it is. Right now it is not possible for me to know how my condition is for the sprints. But I expect I should be the same as last year in the Tour. I hope so anyway."
The Rabobank rider is one of the fastest sprinters around. Does he plan to chase the maillot vert? "This year, what is important is going for stage wins," he replied. "The green jersey well, perhaps if the team was based only around me I could try, but we also have a team for the general classification and the mountain stages."
Later on the season he will have his big goal. He has a chance to take a record fourth world championship title, surpassing Merckx and all the greats. "I didn't see the course yet but I heard about it. I think it is a good parcours for me," he concluded.