Oscar Freire's kamikaze Amstel Gold Race attack with seven kilometres to go up the final Cauberg climb may have been destined to fail, but the Katusha rider has indicated that it was also meant to be a test in view of the Worlds to be held in the province of Limburg later this year. The three-time world champion concluded that a fourth rainbow jersey in Holland was possible, and that if he won, he'd continue to race in 2013.
"What a hell of a climb this Cauberg is," Freire told Het Nieuwsblad. "The last 200 meters I literally died on the bike."
The good news is that the finish line of the World Championship course will be located 1.8km further away than the Amstel Gold Race finish. "The lesson of this Amstel is that I can become a World Champion here for a fourth time. If I do, then I'll continue to race one more year," the 36-year-old added.
The Katusha leader has returned to be competitive this season, achieving a number of top placings on top of two victories: seventh in Milan-San Remo, second in the GP E3, fourth in Gent-Wevelgem, second in the Brabantse Pijl and now fourth again at Amstel Gold Race. After spending nine seasons at Rabobank, Freire thanked his new Katusha team for continuing to trust him.
"I feel good and healthy. What's more, at Katusha I get the confidence I need to prepare for races at my own rhythm," he said.