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Bettini and Freire feeling good for Primavera

Quick Step's Paolo Bettini and Rabobank's Oscar Freire both say they're feeling good ahead of Saturday's Milan-San Remo classic. Each comes into the race under different circumstances, with the Olympic champion having won stages one and two of Tirreno-Adriatico before crashing out on stage three, while Freire won a stage and enjoyed the race lead for a couple of days.

Freire is coming back into some excellent form, while Bettini looked in doubt for a start in the big Italian race - but both riders will start, and Bettini hopes his injuries won't hinder him during the race. "Every day it gets better and better, but there's still some pain in my lower back and upper knee," said the Italian. "I hope that it plays no part during the finish on Saturday."

"I feel I'm getting better each day," said Freire, who is coming back after a disappointing 2005 where he was plagued by injury after a great start to the season. His win in stage 3 of Tirreno-Adriatico shook up his system a little bit, which prompted the Spaniard to comment, "That was my first serious effort in a year. It felt as if my bones exploded!"

Having recently turned 30, Freire believes the added maturity will serve him well in racing. "I now have the experience and the right mentality - I only have to remain healthy!" He believes he'd be better served staying on Petacchi's wheel in the finale of Saturday's classic instead of Tom Boonen's, and if 'Oscar the Cat' or 'Paolo the Cricket' get among the pigeons, look out for either of these past winners to take the cake on Via Roma.

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