By Shane Stokes in Altdorf
Although the final stage of the Tour de Suisse is has a somewhat lumpy parcours, it is very possible that a bunch sprint will take place in Bern. If so – or even if the peloton is thinned down somewhat by the course and the heat of the GC fight – one of those who should be right to the fore is triple world champion Oscar Freire.
The Rabobank rider won the opening leg of the race and currently leads the points classification with a total of 72 points, 29 ahead of Kim Kirchen (Team High Road). He's one of the quickest sprinters in cycling and with Robbie McEwen (Silence-Lotto) having already taken an early exit, the Spaniard has a strong chance of adding to his past successes.
Freire has three goals this season; the Tour de France, the Olympics and the World Championships. He appears to be on the right track thus far. "I am happy with my condition," he told Cyclingnews. "Maybe I don't feel very good on the climbs but that is not my job. I feel really good in the sprints and so I am okay for the Tour.
"Later on, I will go to the Olympics. It is a different race to the worlds, though... the teams have five riders, so it is not a controlled race. There could be a breakaway."
The third target is to chase what would be a record breaking forth win in the pro world road race championships. Freire is both a strong sprinter and a decent climber on power courses, as exemplified by his two victories on the tough Verona course. He hopes to once again take the rainbow jersey in Italy. "I like Varese a lot," he said, "I think it is a perfect circuit for me. I hope to get the record this year."