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Freire persists

By Shane Stokes in Gent

Rabobank's Oscar Freire showed that he is getting over the undercarriage cyst problem which has affected him for several days when he sprinted home seventh on the first stage of the Tour and ninth into Gent. He was hoping for a better results but will be encouraged by the fact that he was able to get through the stages without major problems.

"I think my form is good," he said after the first stage. "It is not easy after the crash in the Tour de Suisse and also this problem [his groin]. I didn't train very well [in the last few days] because of the problem and so I have to wait for the next sprints. I hope to feel better tomorrow."

Freire said that they mistimed their effort on the stage to Canterbury. "I was in front and in position but there was a lot of wind. We [the team] were a little bit slow in the last 700 metres and the others came very quickly from behind us; we couldn't do anything in the last 300 metres. It was a little bit uphill and also there was the wind."

He was hoping to show better on stage two but the sprint was a very unusual one due to the disruptive effects of the crash which brought down many riders and delayed the vast majority of the bunch. A clearer estimation of his form is likely to be seen over the next couple of stages.

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