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Freire back to winning ways

Oscar Freire (Rabobank)

Oscar Freire (Rabobank) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Riding his first race since Liège-Bastogne-Liège on April 27, Rabobank's Oscar Freire found his winning legs right away on stage one of the Tour de Suisse. Following the Spring Classics, the Spaniard took a holiday to Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt and then began his build-up to the Tour de France. Saturday's victory was the 32 year-old's fourth of the season after two stages in Tirreno-Adriatico and the Gent-Wevelgem semi-classic.

The opening stage of the Tour de Suisse was a 146 kilometre affair featuring five climbs over 1000 metres in altitude. After the day's three-man break was reeled in by the sprinters' teams, Freire got the better of Swiss Martin Elmiger (AG2R) and Luxemburger Kim Kirchen (High Road) took take the leader's jersey.

"The Tour de Suisse has a great tradition and a high level of competition," Freire told the race website. "It was a difficult stage, I knew it was going to be tough. I really thought the breakaway would stay away to the finish."

Freire is almost certain to lose the leader's jersey on Sunday's stage – a 197 kilometre journey from Langnau to the top of the category one Flumserberg pass, 1391 metres above sea level. "Being the race leader is fun, but I have no chance of keeping the jersey after Flumserberg," he said. "I would prefer to do the climb in a car than a bike race! It's better that I focus on the stages that suit me."

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