A hot favourite in the event of a bunch sprint finish at the world championship, Oscar Freire was disillusioned to come only sixth on the finishing line in Geelong.
“I’m a bit disappointed,” he told Cyclingnews back at his hotel after the race. “There was definitely a possibility for me to win this race once again. I was riding in the top twenty all the time and I could see that other riders weren’t very happy to see me up there, and the only time I went further back in the bunch, they attacked and rode flat out.
“Before that, every time there was a split in the bunch, I was in the first part and everyone else stopped pedalling. I rode so as not to be caught by surprise but it happened. It happened just once but that was one time too many. I think the whole bunch rode against Spain.”
Freire was the sole captain of the Spanish team and was obviously feared considering the uphill finish on Moorabool Street. “Maybe I made one mistake but our whole team has had to pay a big price for that mistake,” the Milan-San Remo winner added.
“For about seven laps we had to ride hard behind. We came across eventually but we spent a lot of energy. I was more tired than the other sprinters. I had a good position in the sprint but I just didn’t have the legs anymore.”
“I could have done better,” concluded Freire, who might have just once last chance next year in Copenhagen to add to his haul of rainbow jersey, as he has plans to retire at the end of the 2011 season.