By Gregor Brown and Hernan Alvarez
Oscar Freire took his second stage win for this Vuelta a España Wednesday with a win in the final sprint. The three-time World Champion collected his win at the end of the 157.4km stage five from Cangas de Onís to Reinosa ahead of sprinters Daniele Bennati (Lampre-Fondital) and World Champion Paolo Bettini (Quick.Step). Both rivals have already won a stage each.
"Everything went perfectly well for me," said Freire following the finish, which he crossed first after launching his sprint from the final corner. "I think I got the right position in the sprint; there were some riders who got ahead of me in the last turn, but in the end I was fine. I knew there were few metres to sprint and during the whole stage I suffered to reach those last metres in good condition."
"I think today was a great day for me. Achieving the win here [in his home region] is doubly important," finished Freire, who also won stage two.
General classification leader Vladimir Efimkin (Caisse d'Epargne) kept his lead after safely making the only the only climb of the day, the Puerto de la Palombera and finishing with the main pack.
Efimkin said he had a quiet day. "It was really nice to start this morning with the golden jersey on my shoulders. The stage was animated by many attacks but in spite if that, the day was quite an easy one for me. My team-mates of Caisse d'Epargne perfectly controlled the race and in the final, we could reckon on the help of the teams of the sprinters. We saved the day and I hope that it will be the same tomorrow evening."