Freire eyes Spanish national coach vacancy

Oscar Freire has thrown his hat into the ring for the vacancy as head coach of Spain's elite men's road cycling team following the resignation of Javier Minguez last month.

The 42-year-old won the World Championships for Spain on a record-equalling three occasions (1999, 2001, 2001) and is keen to use his experience to help the current crop of riders. 

Minguez, head coach since 2013, left his role last month after a salary dispute, in the wake of Alejandro Valverde winning the world title. The role is said to have been offered to his deputy, Pascual Momparler, but Freire is waiting in the wings. 

"My intention is to be the coach - if it's not this year then in the future," he said in an interview with Spanish news agency EFE. "It's something I'd like to do and something I believe I could do well, because the Worlds was the race that marked my career.

"After spending my whole life in cycling and having been a pro, you know you can bring something else to the table. Many riders who turn pro are very good but because of one single error they can lose a World Championships. That can't happen.

"A lot of the time, when I've gone to watch a race, from the sidelines you see when a rider is going badly and it's sad because without having anyone to give them advice things can't be any different."

Freire has not taken up a full-time role since his retirement at the end of the 2012 season. Recently he has been a prominent campaigner for improved road safety legislation to protect cyclists in Spain, and has also been dipping into mountain biking and rally car driving. 

He does not see himself taking on a role as directeur sportif of a professional team, but sees the Spanish coach role as the perfect balance. 

"Being a DS is a full-time job, you spend all year away from home and it's different. Then it stops being a 'hobby', which is what the head coach role would be," Freire said. 

That said, he did affirm that the head coach role should be "well remunerated" given it comes with "significant responsibility", referring to the Minguez debacle. "It's not good at all that that happens after a Worlds victory. Everyone has their own take. For me, this sort of problem should not have existed and things should have been clearer from the beginning."

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