Oscar Freire: The rise of a legend at the 1999 World Championships - Podcast

1999 had its highs and lows. For every No Scrubs by TLC there was a Mambo Number 5 or virtually anything from the Backstreet Boys’ back catalogue. Bluetooth came about, we all played Snake on our Nokia 3210s, and a Texan shocked the world by winning the Tour de France. Whatever happened to him?

But when it came to professional cycling, maybe the most enticing thing about the sport was just how inaccessible it was. If you wanted to keep up with European racing, your options were either the four lines of text posted on Ceefax, loading up Cyclingnews on your parents’ dodgy 56k modem, or waiting a week for your favourite cycling magazine to hit the shelves.

However you managed to follow cycling back then, the fact that you had work for it only added to the romance. And the final UCI World Championships of the 1990s were arguably the most romantic and beautiful of the entire decade. The setting was perfect, the line-up stellar, even the race-winning break was filled with a mouthwatering array of talent. And, to top it all, we had a shock winner.

This is the story of Oscar Freire’s 1999 Worlds win and how a complete unknown stormed to victory in one of the biggest upsets the sport had ever seen.

Join us as we re-tell the race on its 20th anniversary, and head to meet with Freire at his home in Northern Spain.

This issue of the Cyclingnews podcast was brought to you by Sportful, Pinarello, Floyds of Leadville, and Wattbike.

To subscribe to the Cyclignews podcast, click here.

A special thanks to everyone who was interviewed: Oscar Freire, Hugo Coorevits, Servais Knaven, Rolf Aldag, Scott Moninger, Sven Montgomery, Dirk Demol and Dimitri Konyshev.

Born in the Italian Dolomites, Sportful has been making athletes faster, more efficient and better protected since 1972. Official apparel supplier to Team Virtu Cycling, Bora-Hansgrohe and Bahrain-Merida. The same Pro Issue apparel, which includes our BodyFit Pro and Fiandre lines, worn by Marta Bastianelli, Peter Sagan and Vincenzo Nibali is available to purchase by all cyclists. BodyFit Pro; a form fitting design with a focus on enhanced aerodynamics was created specifically for the rigours of pro bike racing. Our versatile Fiandre line uses proprietary technology to keep you dry and comfortable in inclement, variable weather conditions. Sportful leads the market with innovative and technical apparel so you can experience those unforgettable moments, your very best days on a bike. For more details visit sportful.com. Follow the ride on Instagram @sportful.

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Daniel Benson

Daniel Benson was the Editor in Chief at Cyclingnews.com between 2008 and 2022. Based in the UK, he joined the Cyclingnews team in 2008 as the site's first UK-based Managing Editor. In that time, he reported on over a dozen editions of the Tour de France, several World Championships, the Tour Down Under, Spring Classics, and the London 2012 Olympic Games. With the help of the excellent editorial team, he ran the coverage on Cyclingnews and has interviewed leading figures in the sport including UCI Presidents and Tour de France winners.