Freire bookends season with Paris-Tours win

Furlan, Steegmans out-sprinted by Spaniard

Oscar Freire has become the first Spaniard to win Paris-Tours in his 11th participation in the French classic. Freire launched a perfectly timed sprint to win handily over Angelo Furlan and Gert Steegmans, a slim consolation prize from the missed opportunity at the world championships.

In doing so, the Spaniard clocked the second fastest average speed for the race, with 47.730km/h. Andreï Tchmil remains the record holder with 48.929km/h in 1999. Freire will remain the last winner on the Avenue de Grammont. The planned tramway will relocate the finish before next year's race, making this edition the last to use the classic finish line.

"I've had more luck today than at the world championship," Freire said. "My condition was ok after the trip to Australia. We have controlled the race and I stayed at the front. It was a perfect race for me."

Experts usually say that the greatness of Paris-Tours is the events that precede the final sprint. It was a fast start until Jonas Jorgensen (Saxo Bank), Travis Meyer (Garmin-Transitions), Yuriy Krivtsov (Ag2r-La Mondiale) and Simon Geschke (Skil-Shimano) broke clear at kilometre 37. They were soon rejoined by Nikolas Maes (Quick Step), Aleksej Saramotins (HTC-Columbia), Juan Antonio Flecha (Sky) and Laurent Pichon (Bretagne-Schuller). The eight men only managed to get a maximum lead of four minutes at km 70, but the peloton kept them under control.

At the halfway mark in Vendôme, the Saur-Sojasun team accelerated and created splits in the bunch with Italy's Daniele Bennati and Filippo Pozzato among the top names trapped at the back. But the peloton was back together eventually and the breakaway riders could see their advantage increasing again up to 2.45 at km 145. RadioShack, Rabobank and Omega Pharma-Lotto became the most active at the command of the bunch and reduced the gap progressively.

On the côte du Crochu (km 203.5), Geschke put the hammer down and split the front group, and only Maes could bridge the gap. With 20 kilometres to go, the peloton caught everyone except Geschke and Maes who lasted five more kilometres in the front. On the côte de Beau-Soleil, newly introduced on the course of Paris-Tours, RadioShack's Geoffrey Lequatre attacked and kept an 18 second lead at the entrance of the 2.7km long avenue de Grammont.

"I took risks before everyone else," Lequatre told Cyclingnews after the finish. "Everything was possible. I heard from Alain Gallopin over the radio that I had 25 or 29 seconds advantage. It was a game between me and the bunch. I never looked back, but the headwind on the Avenue de Grammont made it too hard for a man alone."

Once Lequatre got caught with 400 metres to go, the headwind continued to play a major role. "Bozic led me well, but with 300 metres to go, I got the headwind right into my face," explained the first Frenchman Romain Feillu (6th). "At 200 metres, I took Furlan's wheel but I couldn't hold it. The efforts I did previously penalised me although I had kept strength for the sprint."

Lampre's Furlan thought he had a good chance of winning. "I believed I'd win, I dreamt of it and I needed it," the Italian told Cyclingnews. "If there wasn't this head wind, I would have won because I came out of the Vuelta with good form. I chose to open the sprint with 300 metres to go because you need to take risks to win. It's no shame to lose to a champion like Oscar Freire, but I'm a bit disappointed to have been so close to the win and not make it."

Freire was unbeatable in the last 50 metres. "He was really impressive," said last year's winner Philippe Gilbert. "He was almost stopped and found a great speed in only 100 metres."

"It was a very fast race because of the favourable wind," the Belgian added. "But the new finale was a disadvantage for the attackers. I tried in the côte de l'Epan but I stopped my effort when I had Pozzato on my wheel. It seems to be his speciality to make other riders lose. Two years ago, he rode against Boonen, now apparently I am his new target. It's his way of riding. As for myself, I didn't want to take risks in the sprint so I rode for Greg van Avermaet who told me he was up for it but he got boxed in."

Full Results

# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Rabobank 4:52:54  
2 Angelo Furlan (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini    
3 Gert Steegmans (Bel) Team Radioshack    
4 Klaas Lodewyck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator    
5 Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Bbox Bouygues Telecom    
6 Romain Feillu (Fra) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team    
7 Yoann Offredo (Fra) Française Des Jeux    
8 Wouter Weylandt (Bel) Quick Step    
9 Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Team HTC - Columbia    
10 Sébastien Chavanel (Fra) Française Des Jeux    
11 Robbie Mcewen (Aus) Team Katusha    
12 Anthony Ravard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale    
13 Alexandre Pichot (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom    
14 Danilo Hondo (Ger) Lampre-Farnese Vini    
15 Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator    
16 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto    
17 Pablo Lastras Garcia (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne    
18 Fabien Bacquet (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 93    
19 Roy Curvers (Ned) Skil - Shimano    
20 Cédric Pineau (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole    
21 Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Cofidis, le Credit en Ligne    
22 Jérémy Roy (Fra) Française Des Jeux    
23 Jimmy Casper (Fra) Saur - Sojasun    
24 Stijn Neirynck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator    
25 Matti Breschel (Den) Team Saxo Bank    
26 Leonardo Duque (Col) Cofidis, le Credit en Ligne    
27 Renaud Dion (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole    
28 Caleb Fairly (USA) Garmin - Transitions    
29 Lars Ytting Bak (Den) Team HTC - Columbia    
30 Paul Voss (Ger) Team Milram    
31 Fumiyuki Beppu (Jpn) Team Radioshack    
32 Michael Schär (Swi) BMC Racing Team    
33 Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Cofidis, le Credit en Ligne    
34 Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Team Milram    
35 Tom Veelers (Ned) Skil - Shimano    
36 Vladimir Gusev (Rus) Katusha Team    
37 Nico Sijmens (Bel) Cofidis, le Credit en Ligne    
38 Dimitri Le Boulch (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 93    
39 Lilian Jegou (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller    
40 Matthieu Sprick (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom    
41 Steven Cozza (USA) Garmin - Transitions    
42 Daniele Bennati (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo    
43 Gerben Löwik (Ned) Omega Pharma-Lotto    
44 Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Liquigas-Doimo    
45 Luis Pasamontes Rodriguez (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne    
46 Romain Matheou (Fra) Saur - Sojasun    
47 Jan Ghyselinck (Bel) Team HTC - Columbia    
48 Fabian Wegmann (Ger) Team Milram    
49 Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator    
50 Steven Cummings (GBr) Sky Professional Cycling Team    
51 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Quick Step    
52 Sander Armee (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator    
53 Adam Hansen (Aus) Team HTC - Columbia    
54 Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo    
55 Francisco Perez Sanchez (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne    
56 Rony Martias (Fra) Saur - Sojasun    
57 Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Team Katusha    
58 Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto    
59 Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) Rabobank    
60 Borut Bozic (Slo) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team    
61 Frédéric Guesdon (Fra) Française Des Jeux    
62 Julien Berard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale    
63 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto    
64 Timothy Duggan (USA) Garmin - Transitions    
65 Mickaël Buffaz (Fra) Cofidis, le Credit en Ligne    
66 Thierry Hupond (Fra) Skil - Shimano    
67 Sébastien Minard (Fra) Cofidis, le Credit en Ligne    
68 Arnaud Labbe (Fra) Cofidis Le Credit En Ligne    
69 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Caisse d'Epargne    
70 Markel Irizar Aranburu (Spa) Team Radioshack    
71 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Professional Cycling Team    
72 Arnaud Gerard (Fra) Fdj    
73 Christopher Horner (USA) Team Radioshack    
74 Bert De Backer (Bel) Skil - Shimano    
75 Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Saur - Sojasun    
76 Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Team Milram    
77 José Luis Rubiera Vigil (Spa) Team Radioshack 0:00:10  
78 Geoffroy Lequatre (Fra) Team Radioshack    
79 Maciej Paterski (Pol) Liquigas-Doimo 0:00:20  
80 Leif Hoste (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto    
81 Björn Leukemans (Bel) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team 0:00:31  
82 Jérôme Baugnies (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator 0:00:42  
83 Alberto Ongarato (Ita) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team 0:01:03  
84 Sébastien Hinault (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:01:13  
85 Sergey Lagutin (Uzb) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team 0:01:22  
86 Marco Marcato (Ita) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team    
87 Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Quick Step    
88 Morgan Kneisky (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole    
89 Matthew Busche (USA) Team Radioshack 0:02:08  
90 Johan Van Summeren (Bel) Garmin - Transitions 0:02:22  
91 Niki Terpstra (Ned) Team Milram    
92 Kurt Hovelynck (Bel) Quick Step 0:02:29  
93 Nadir Haddou (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 93    
94 Vincent Jérôme (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom    
95 Geert Steurs (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator    
96 Marcin Sapa (Pol) Lampre-Farnese Vini    
97 Ronan Racault (Fra) Big Mat-Auber 93    
98 Juan Mauricio Soler Hernandez (Col) Caisse d'Epargne    
99 Patrick Gretsch (Ger) Team HTC - Columbia    
100 Aleksejs Saramotins (Lat) Team HTC - Columbia    
101 Blel Kadri (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale    
102 Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) Française Des Jeux    
103 José Vicente Garcia Acosta (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne    
104 Angel Madrazo Ruiz (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne    
105 Anthony Geslin (Fra) Française Des Jeux    
106 Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Nor) Sky Professional Cycling Team    
107 Frank Hoj (Den) Team Saxo Bank    
108 Kjell Carlström (Fin) Sky Professional Cycling Team    
109 Pieter Jacobs (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator    
110 Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale    
111 Mathieu Claude (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom    
112 Simon Zahner (Swi) BMC Racing Team    
113 Daniele Righi (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini    
114 Yohann Gène (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom    
115 Dominik Roels (Ger) Team Milram    
116 Jean-Marc Bideau (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller    
117 Denis Galimzyanov (Rus) Team Katusha    
118 Gorik Gardeyn (Bel) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team    
119 Florian Vachon (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller    
120 Jean-Luc Delpech (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller    
121 Mathieu Halleguen (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller    
122 Kasper Klostergaard Larsen (Den) Team Saxo Bank 0:03:01  
123 Laszlo Bodrogi (Fra) Team Katusha    
124 Tom Leezer (Ned) Rabobank 0:04:48  
125 Nikolas Maes (Bel) Quick Step 0:05:39  
126 Jérémie Galland (Fra) Saur - Sojasun 0:06:24  
127 Yannick Talabardon (Fra) Saur - Sojasun    
128 Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) Team Katusha 0:07:13  
129 Maxime Vantomme (Bel) Team Katusha    
130 Vicente Reynes Mimo (Spa) Team HTC - Columbia 0:07:15  
131 Guillaume Faucon (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 93    
132 Andreas Stauff (Ger) Quick Step    
133 Kenny Dehaes (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto    
134 Maxime Méderel (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 93    
135 Adam Blythe (GBr) Omega Pharma-Lotto    
136 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step    
137 Olivier Kaisen (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto    
138 Francesco Chicchi (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo    
139 Christopher Butler (USA) BMC Racing Team    
140 Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spa) Sky Professional Cycling Team    
141 Lucas Sebastian Haedo (Arg) Team Saxo Bank    
142 Chad Beyer (USA) BMC Racing Team    
143 Yuriy Krivtsov (Ukr) AG2R La Mondiale    
144 Gatis Smukulis (Lat) AG2R La Mondiale    
145 Mauro Da Dalto (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini    
146 Arnaud Molmy (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole    
147 Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo    
148 Stéphane Bonsergent (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller    
149 Laurent Pichon (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller    
150 Mitchell Docker (Aus) Skil - Shimano    
151 Robert Wagner (Ger) Skil - Shimano    
152 Perrig Quemeneur (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom    
153 Albert Timmer (Ned) Skil - Shimano    
154 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom    
155 Nick Nuyens (Bel) Rabobank    
156 Joost Posthuma (Ned) Rabobank    
157 Rick Flens (Ned) Rabobank    
158 Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) Rabobank    
159 Ivan Rovny (Rus) Team Radioshack    
160 Benoït Vaugrenard (Fra) Française Des Jeux    
161 Raymond Kreder (Ned) Garmin - Transitions    
162 Roger Kluge (Ger) Team Milram 0:07:21  
163 Michael Mørkøv (Den) Team Saxo Bank    
164 Simon Geschke (Ger) Skil - Shimano 0:10:01  
165 Travis Meyer (Aus) Garmin - Transitions 0:10:27  
166 Jonas Aaen Jørgensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank    
167 Kevin Hulsmans (Bel) Quick Step 0:11:46  
168 Stéphane Poulhies (Fra) Saur - Sojasun 0:12:20  
169 Mikhail Ignatiev (Rus) Team Katusha    
170 Jaroslaw Marycz (Pol) Team Saxo Bank    
171 Jens Mouris (Ned) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team    
172 David Loosli (Swi) Lampre-Farnese Vini    
173 Adriano Malori (Ita) Lampre - Farnese    
DNF Mirco Lorenzetto (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini    
DNF Tristan Valentin (Fra) Cofidis, le Credit en Ligne    
DNF Kristof Goddaert (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale    
DNF Nicolas Portal (Fra) Sky Professional Cycling Team    
DNF Alessandro Ballan (Ita) BMC Racing Team    
DNF Alberto Losada Alguacil (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne    
DNF Ricardo Van Der Velde (Ned) Garmin - Transitions    
DNF Frantisek Rabon (Cze) Team HTC - Columbia    
DNF Florian Guillou (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller    
DNF Jimmy Engoulvent (Fra) Saur - Sojasun    
DNF Lars Petter Nordhaug (Nor) Sky Professional Cycling Team    
DNF Jeffry Louder (USA) BMC Racing Team    
DNF Cole House (USA) BMC Racing Team    
DNF Tiziano Dall'Antonia (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo    
DNF Jos Van Emden (Ned) Rabobank    
DNF Alexandre Lemair (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole    
DNF Markus Eichler (Ger) Team Milram    

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