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Freire the first green Spaniard

Freire now has a massive 47-point advantage

Freire now has a massive 47-point advantage (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

By Daniel Benson in Paris

Oscar Freire rode into Paris today to become the first-ever Spaniard to win the green points jersey. The former triple-world champion has been mister consistent in this year's race, bagging a stage in Dignes-les-Bains, along with a string of top ten places throughout the past three weeks.

What makes the achievement even more rewarding is that he's done all the work without the help of a dedicated lead-out team, as team Rabobank set itself up around Denis Menchov before the start of the race.

"To win the green jersey is an important achievement for any sprinter. In my case, I never had a lot of luck in the last years because of my health problems. This time around, I came to the Tour in the best condition. I was able to put on the most consistent performance, so I think I deserve to win it," he said as he warmed up for yesterday's time trial.

Freire has a lead of 42 points over Erik Zabel (202), with Thur Hushovd third on 198, ahead of the final stage to Paris on Sunday where points can be won at intermediate sprints with the most available at the finish line.

The winner of Gent-Wevelgem will be completing only his second full Tour de France. In 2003 he finished 12th on the Champs-Elysées.

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