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) TeamResult
1Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Rabobank4:52:54 
2Angelo Furlan (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini  
3Gert Steegmans (Bel) Team Radioshack  
4Klaas Lodewyck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator  
5Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Bbox Bouygues Telecom  
6Romain Feillu (Fra) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team  
7Yoann Offredo (Fra) Française Des Jeux  
8Wouter Weylandt (Bel) Quick Step  
9Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Team HTC - Columbia  
10Sébastien Chavanel (Fra) Française Des Jeux  
11Robbie Mcewen (Aus) Team Katusha  
12Anthony Ravard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
13Alexandre Pichot (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom  
14Danilo Hondo (Ger) Lampre-Farnese Vini  
15Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator  
16Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto  
17Pablo Lastras Garcia (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne  
18Fabien Bacquet (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 93  
19Roy Curvers (Ned) Skil - Shimano  
20Cédric Pineau (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole  
21Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Cofidis, le Credit en Ligne  
22Jérémy Roy (Fra) Française Des Jeux  
23Jimmy Casper (Fra) Saur - Sojasun  
24Stijn Neirynck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator  
25Matti Breschel (Den) Team Saxo Bank  
26Leonardo Duque (Col) Cofidis, le Credit en Ligne  
27Renaud Dion (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole  
28Caleb Fairly (USA) Garmin - Transitions  
29Lars Ytting Bak (Den) Team HTC - Columbia  
30Paul Voss (Ger) Team Milram  
31Fumiyuki Beppu (Jpn) Team Radioshack  
32Michael Schär (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
33Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Cofidis, le Credit en Ligne  
34Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Team Milram  
35Tom Veelers (Ned) Skil - Shimano  
36Vladimir Gusev (Rus) Katusha Team  
37Nico Sijmens (Bel) Cofidis, le Credit en Ligne  
38Dimitri Le Boulch (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 93  
39Lilian Jegou (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller  
40Matthieu Sprick (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom  
41Steven Cozza (USA) Garmin - Transitions  
42Daniele Bennati (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo  
43Gerben Löwik (Ned) Omega Pharma-Lotto  
44Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Liquigas-Doimo  
45Luis Pasamontes Rodriguez (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne  
46Romain Matheou (Fra) Saur - Sojasun  
47Jan Ghyselinck (Bel) Team HTC - Columbia  
48Fabian Wegmann (Ger) Team Milram  
49Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator  
50Steven Cummings (GBr) Sky Professional Cycling Team  
51Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Quick Step  
52Sander Armee (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator  
53Adam Hansen (Aus) Team HTC - Columbia  
54Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo  
55Francisco Perez Sanchez (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne  
56Rony Martias (Fra) Saur - Sojasun  
57Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Team Katusha  
58Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto  
59Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) Rabobank  
60Borut Bozic (Slo) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team  
61Frédéric Guesdon (Fra) Française Des Jeux  
62Julien Berard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
63Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto  
64Timothy Duggan (USA) Garmin - Transitions  
65Mickaël Buffaz (Fra) Cofidis, le Credit en Ligne  
66Thierry Hupond (Fra) Skil - Shimano  
67Sébastien Minard (Fra) Cofidis, le Credit en Ligne  
68Arnaud Labbe (Fra) Cofidis Le Credit En Ligne  
69Rigoberto Uran (Col) Caisse d'Epargne  
70Markel Irizar Aranburu (Spa) Team Radioshack  
71Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Professional Cycling Team  
72Arnaud Gerard (Fra) Fdj  
73Christopher Horner (USA) Team Radioshack  
74Bert De Backer (Bel) Skil - Shimano  
75Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Saur - Sojasun  
76Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Team Milram  
77José Luis Rubiera Vigil (Spa) Team Radioshack0:00:10 
78Geoffroy Lequatre (Fra) Team Radioshack  
79Maciej Paterski (Pol) Liquigas-Doimo0:00:20 
80Leif Hoste (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto  
81Björn Leukemans (Bel) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team0:00:31 
82Jérôme Baugnies (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator0:00:42 
83Alberto Ongarato (Ita) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team0:01:03 
84Sébastien Hinault (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:01:13 
85Sergey Lagutin (Uzb) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team0:01:22 
86Marco Marcato (Ita) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team  
87Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Quick Step  
88Morgan Kneisky (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole  
89Matthew Busche (USA) Team Radioshack0:02:08 
90Johan Van Summeren (Bel) Garmin - Transitions0:02:22 
91Niki Terpstra (Ned) Team Milram  
92Kurt Hovelynck (Bel) Quick Step0:02:29 
93Nadir Haddou (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 93  
94Vincent Jérôme (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom  
95Geert Steurs (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator  
96Marcin Sapa (Pol) Lampre-Farnese Vini  
97Ronan Racault (Fra) Big Mat-Auber 93  
98Juan Mauricio Soler Hernandez (Col) Caisse d'Epargne  
99Patrick Gretsch (Ger) Team HTC - Columbia  
100Aleksejs Saramotins (Lat) Team HTC - Columbia  
101Blel Kadri (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
102Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) Française Des Jeux  
103José Vicente Garcia Acosta (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne  
104Angel Madrazo Ruiz (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne  
105Anthony Geslin (Fra) Française Des Jeux  
106Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Nor) Sky Professional Cycling Team  
107Frank Hoj (Den) Team Saxo Bank  
108Kjell Carlström (Fin) Sky Professional Cycling Team  
109Pieter Jacobs (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator  
110Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
111Mathieu Claude (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom  
112Simon Zahner (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
113Daniele Righi (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini  
114Yohann Gène (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom  
115Dominik Roels (Ger) Team Milram  
116Jean-Marc Bideau (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller  
117Denis Galimzyanov (Rus) Team Katusha  
118Gorik Gardeyn (Bel) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team  
119Florian Vachon (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller  
120Jean-Luc Delpech (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller  
121Mathieu Halleguen (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller  
122Kasper Klostergaard Larsen (Den) Team Saxo Bank0:03:01 
123Laszlo Bodrogi (Fra) Team Katusha  
124Tom Leezer (Ned) Rabobank0:04:48 
125Nikolas Maes (Bel) Quick Step0:05:39 
126Jérémie Galland (Fra) Saur - Sojasun0:06:24 
127Yannick Talabardon (Fra) Saur - Sojasun  
128Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) Team Katusha0:07:13 
129Maxime Vantomme (Bel) Team Katusha  
130Vicente Reynes Mimo (Spa) Team HTC - Columbia0:07:15 
131Guillaume Faucon (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 93  
132Andreas Stauff (Ger) Quick Step  
133Kenny Dehaes (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto  
134Maxime Méderel (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 93  
135Adam Blythe (GBr) Omega Pharma-Lotto  
136Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step  
137Olivier Kaisen (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto  
138Francesco Chicchi (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo  
139Christopher Butler (USA) BMC Racing Team  
140Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spa) Sky Professional Cycling Team  
141Lucas Sebastian Haedo (Arg) Team Saxo Bank  
142Chad Beyer (USA) BMC Racing Team  
143Yuriy Krivtsov (Ukr) AG2R La Mondiale  
144Gatis Smukulis (Lat) AG2R La Mondiale  
145Mauro Da Dalto (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini  
146Arnaud Molmy (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole  
147Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo  
148Stéphane Bonsergent (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller  
149Laurent Pichon (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller  
150Mitchell Docker (Aus) Skil - Shimano  
151Robert Wagner (Ger) Skil - Shimano  
152Perrig Quemeneur (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom  
153Albert Timmer (Ned) Skil - Shimano  
154Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom  
155Nick Nuyens (Bel) Rabobank  
156Joost Posthuma (Ned) Rabobank  
157Rick Flens (Ned) Rabobank  
158Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) Rabobank  
159Ivan Rovny (Rus) Team Radioshack  
160Benoït Vaugrenard (Fra) Française Des Jeux  
161Raymond Kreder (Ned) Garmin - Transitions  
162Roger Kluge (Ger) Team Milram0:07:21 
163Michael Mørkøv (Den) Team Saxo Bank  
164Simon Geschke (Ger) Skil - Shimano0:10:01 
165Travis Meyer (Aus) Garmin - Transitions0:10:27 
166Jonas Aaen Jørgensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank  
167Kevin Hulsmans (Bel) Quick Step0:11:46 
168Stéphane Poulhies (Fra) Saur - Sojasun0:12:20 
169Mikhail Ignatiev (Rus) Team Katusha  
170Jaroslaw Marycz (Pol) Team Saxo Bank  
171Jens Mouris (Ned) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team  
172David Loosli (Swi) Lampre-Farnese Vini  
173Adriano Malori (Ita) Lampre - Farnese  
DNFMirco Lorenzetto (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini  
DNFTristan Valentin (Fra) Cofidis, le Credit en Ligne  
DNFKristof Goddaert (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale  
DNFNicolas Portal (Fra) Sky Professional Cycling Team  
DNFAlessandro Ballan (Ita) BMC Racing Team  
DNFAlberto Losada Alguacil (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne  
DNFRicardo Van Der Velde (Ned) Garmin - Transitions  
DNFFrantisek Rabon (Cze) Team HTC - Columbia  
DNFFlorian Guillou (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller  
DNFJimmy Engoulvent (Fra) Saur - Sojasun  
DNFLars Petter Nordhaug (Nor) Sky Professional Cycling Team  
DNFJeffry Louder (USA) BMC Racing Team  
DNFCole House (USA) BMC Racing Team  
DNFTiziano Dall'Antonia (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo  
DNFJos Van Emden (Ned) Rabobank  
DNFAlexandre Lemair (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole  
DNFMarkus Eichler (Ger) Team Milram  

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