Freire retires attacking division within Spanish team

If the Belgians were more than content with today’s Worlds victory for Philippe Gilbert, another strong squad, the Spanish, once more revealed the divisions that have cost them medals in the past.

Former triple World Champion Oscar Freire pulled down the curtain on his career – he would only have continued racing had he won - with a verbal attack on teammate Alejandro Valverde for failing to wait for him on the Cauberg, as had been previously agreed.

“None of my teammates were with me then,” Freire, who took tenth, said outside the Spanish team bus. “What was agreed was to ride for me in the last lap. We haven’t raced well.”

“We lacked clear ideas, we needed to pull back the attacks. We’d said that if anybody attacked it didn’t matter they had to be with me on the last climb so we could bring it back.”

“When Gilbert went, some teammates couldn’t make it, others didn’t want to. Valverde should have waited for me, he was going well, but he was alone.”

“Samuel [Sanchez, who worked in the final lap before getting dropped] was different, he wanted to work for me but couldn’t make it.”

“If I hadn’t been able to ride well, then that would have been understandable and it would have been all my fault, but as it was Valverde who should have been with me. So I’m disappointed. I could have won.”


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Alasdair Fotheringham

Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 bar one, as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. As well as working for Cyclingnews, he has also written for The IndependentThe GuardianProCycling, The Express and Reuters.