Oscar Freire will lead the Spanish team at the world championships road race in Copenhagen as he bids for a record-breaking fourth rainbow jersey.
The Rabobank man will be able to count on the support of no fewer than three of his trade team companions, as Carlos Barredo, Juan Manuel Garate and Luis Leon Sanchez have been selected. Movistar trio Imanol Erviti, Pablo Lastras and José Joaquin Rojas are also included in the line-up, along with Juan Antonio Flecha (Sky) and Vicente Reynes (Omega Pharma-Lotto).
National coach José Luis De Santos is confident that Freire’s Worlds preparation has not been unduly upset by his failure to finish the Vuelta a España. Freire pulled out of the race at the end of the first week.
“I was with Oscar when the Vuelta passed through Cantabria,” De Santos said. “He had a couple of bad days after abandoning, but he has recovered physically. He has done some quality training and this week, he’s going to race in Belgium.”
Although Spain had five different stage winners at the Vuelta a España, only one of those riders – Pablo Lastras – has been picked for the team. De Santos explained that he had picked a team to perform on the Copenhagen circuit. While Freire will be the trump card in the event of a bunch sprint, Reynes and Rojas will have the freedom to shadow dangerous moves in the closing laps.
“Everybody will have to ride at different phases of the race, while Reynes and Rojas should be there in the finale. Not so much to lead out Freire as to be attentive to the breaks that could form with people like Gilbert.”
Jonathan Castroviejo (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Gesù Herrada (Movistar) will compete for Spain in the time trial.