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Freire to become Spanish national coach?

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Oscar Freire (Spain) was emotional before the race

Oscar Freire (Spain) was emotional before the race (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
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Oscar Freire Gomez (Katusha)

Oscar Freire Gomez (Katusha) (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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1999 Elite men's road Worlds podium (L-R): Markus Zberg (Switzerland), 2nd; Oscar Freire (Spain), 1st; Jean-Cyril Robin (France), 3rd

1999 Elite men's road Worlds podium (L-R): Markus Zberg (Switzerland), 2nd; Oscar Freire (Spain), 1st; Jean-Cyril Robin (France), 3rd (Image credit: AFP)

Former Spanish National Coach Paco Antequera has said that should he be elected the next president of the Spanish Cycling Federation, he will nominate Oscar Freire as his national road race coach.

Freire retired from cycling in October after winning three world road-race titles during his career. Combined with his numerous triumphs in major Classics, such as three victories at Milan-San Remo, the Cantabrian is Spain’s most successful ever one-day rider.

Elections for the Spanish Federation President will take place on December 1st - with Antequera one of four candidates. Spanish national coach, Jose Luis De Santos, recently resigned to take up a new position as trainer of the Alberto Contador Foundation junior team.

“Freire is a great teammate, he knows from his own experience what it means to race and challenge for a world’s team,” Antequera said recently. “His techniques and tactics have enabled him to triumph many times as a pro and now I want him to pass on that experience and know-how to the riders of the Spanish team.”

Freire showed his support for Antequera, without directly saying he wants to be national road coach.

“It’s a great opportunity for me to participate in this project,” Freire said in a press release. “Paco has proposed to put cycling back to the level where it deserves to be, and I’m going to be by his side to achieve that.”

For many Spanish fans, Antequera remains the most successful Spanish team coach in any sporting discipline, given the country obtained more medals at worlds level under his guidance than ever before. During his time as coach, from 1998 - 2008, Spain won four gold medals, two silver, and two bronze medals in the men's world’s championship road-race alone, plus a silver medal in the time trial.

Antequera’s master stroke as national coach was to select Oscar Freire - against the wishes of Freire trade team manager at the time - to the 1999 world championships in Italy, where the Spaniard unexpectedly won his first ever gold, a triumph which kick started Freire’s hugely successful career.

Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 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. Apart from working for, he is also the cycling correspondent for The Independent and The Independent on Sunday.