Freire bookends season with Paris-Tours win

Oscar Freire has become the first Spaniard to win Paris-Tours in his 11th participation in the French classic. Freire launched a perfectly timed sprint to win handily over Angelo Furlan and Gert Steegmans, a slim consolation prize from the missed opportunity at the world championships.

In doing so, the Spaniard clocked the second fastest average speed for the race, with 47.730km/h. Andreï Tchmil remains the record holder with 48.929km/h in 1999. Freire will remain the last winner on the Avenue de Grammont. The planned tramway will relocate the finish before next year's race, making this edition the last to use the classic finish line.

"I've had more luck today than at the world championship," Freire said. "My condition was ok after the trip to Australia. We have controlled the race and I stayed at the front. It was a perfect race for me."

Experts usually say that the greatness of Paris-Tours is the events that precede the final sprint. It was a fast start until Jonas Jorgensen (Saxo Bank), Travis Meyer (Garmin-Transitions), Yuriy Krivtsov (Ag2r-La Mondiale) and Simon Geschke (Skil-Shimano) broke clear at kilometre 37. They were soon rejoined by Nikolas Maes (Quick Step), Aleksej Saramotins (HTC-Columbia), Juan Antonio Flecha (Sky) and Laurent Pichon (Bretagne-Schuller). The eight men only managed to get a maximum lead of four minutes at km 70, but the peloton kept them under control.

At the halfway mark in Vendôme, the Saur-Sojasun team accelerated and created splits in the bunch with Italy's Daniele Bennati and Filippo Pozzato among the top names trapped at the back. But the peloton was back together eventually and the breakaway riders could see their advantage increasing again up to 2.45 at km 145. RadioShack, Rabobank and Omega Pharma-Lotto became the most active at the command of the bunch and reduced the gap progressively.

On the côte du Crochu (km 203.5), Geschke put the hammer down and split the front group, and only Maes could bridge the gap. With 20 kilometres to go, the peloton caught everyone except Geschke and Maes who lasted five more kilometres in the front. On the côte de Beau-Soleil, newly introduced on the course of Paris-Tours, RadioShack's Geoffrey Lequatre attacked and kept an 18 second lead at the entrance of the 2.7km long avenue de Grammont.

"I took risks before everyone else," Lequatre told Cyclingnews after the finish. "Everything was possible. I heard from Alain Gallopin over the radio that I had 25 or 29 seconds advantage. It was a game between me and the bunch. I never looked back, but the headwind on the Avenue de Grammont made it too hard for a man alone."

Once Lequatre got caught with 400 metres to go, the headwind continued to play a major role. "Bozic led me well, but with 300 metres to go, I got the headwind right into my face," explained the first Frenchman Romain Feillu (6th). "At 200 metres, I took Furlan's wheel but I couldn't hold it. The efforts I did previously penalised me although I had kept strength for the sprint."

Lampre's Furlan thought he had a good chance of winning. "I believed I'd win, I dreamt of it and I needed it," the Italian told Cyclingnews. "If there wasn't this head wind, I would have won because I came out of the Vuelta with good form. I chose to open the sprint with 300 metres to go because you need to take risks to win. It's no shame to lose to a champion like Oscar Freire, but I'm a bit disappointed to have been so close to the win and not make it."

Freire was unbeatable in the last 50 metres. "He was really impressive," said last year's winner Philippe Gilbert. "He was almost stopped and found a great speed in only 100 metres."

"It was a very fast race because of the favourable wind," the Belgian added. "But the new finale was a disadvantage for the attackers. I tried in the côte de l'Epan but I stopped my effort when I had Pozzato on my wheel. It seems to be his speciality to make other riders lose. Two years ago, he rode against Boonen, now apparently I am his new target. It's his way of riding. As for myself, I didn't want to take risks in the sprint so I rode for Greg van Avermaet who told me he was up for it but he got boxed in."

Full Results

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Rabobank4:52:54
2Angelo Furlan (Ita) Lampre-Farnese ViniRow 1 - Cell 2
3Gert Steegmans (Bel) Team RadioshackRow 2 - Cell 2
4Klaas Lodewyck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - MercatorRow 3 - Cell 2
5Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Bbox Bouygues TelecomRow 4 - Cell 2
6Romain Feillu (Fra) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling TeamRow 5 - Cell 2
7Yoann Offredo (Fra) Française Des JeuxRow 6 - Cell 2
8Wouter Weylandt (Bel) Quick StepRow 7 - Cell 2
9Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Team HTC - ColumbiaRow 8 - Cell 2
10Sébastien Chavanel (Fra) Française Des JeuxRow 9 - Cell 2
11Robbie Mcewen (Aus) Team KatushaRow 10 - Cell 2
12Anthony Ravard (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 11 - Cell 2
13Alexandre Pichot (Fra) Bbox Bouygues TelecomRow 12 - Cell 2
14Danilo Hondo (Ger) Lampre-Farnese ViniRow 13 - Cell 2
15Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - MercatorRow 14 - Cell 2
16Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) Omega Pharma-LottoRow 15 - Cell 2
17Pablo Lastras Garcia (Spa) Caisse d'EpargneRow 16 - Cell 2
18Fabien Bacquet (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 93Row 17 - Cell 2
19Roy Curvers (Ned) Skil - ShimanoRow 18 - Cell 2
20Cédric Pineau (Fra) Roubaix Lille MetropoleRow 19 - Cell 2
21Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Cofidis, le Credit en LigneRow 20 - Cell 2
22Jérémy Roy (Fra) Française Des JeuxRow 21 - Cell 2
23Jimmy Casper (Fra) Saur - SojasunRow 22 - Cell 2
24Stijn Neirynck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - MercatorRow 23 - Cell 2
25Matti Breschel (Den) Team Saxo BankRow 24 - Cell 2
26Leonardo Duque (Col) Cofidis, le Credit en LigneRow 25 - Cell 2
27Renaud Dion (Fra) Roubaix Lille MetropoleRow 26 - Cell 2
28Caleb Fairly (USA) Garmin - TransitionsRow 27 - Cell 2
29Lars Ytting Bak (Den) Team HTC - ColumbiaRow 28 - Cell 2
30Paul Voss (Ger) Team MilramRow 29 - Cell 2
31Fumiyuki Beppu (Jpn) Team RadioshackRow 30 - Cell 2
32Michael Schär (Swi) BMC Racing TeamRow 31 - Cell 2
33Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Cofidis, le Credit en LigneRow 32 - Cell 2
34Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Team MilramRow 33 - Cell 2
35Tom Veelers (Ned) Skil - ShimanoRow 34 - Cell 2
36Vladimir Gusev (Rus) Katusha TeamRow 35 - Cell 2
37Nico Sijmens (Bel) Cofidis, le Credit en LigneRow 36 - Cell 2
38Dimitri Le Boulch (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 93Row 37 - Cell 2
39Lilian Jegou (Fra) Bretagne - SchullerRow 38 - Cell 2
40Matthieu Sprick (Fra) Bbox Bouygues TelecomRow 39 - Cell 2
41Steven Cozza (USA) Garmin - TransitionsRow 40 - Cell 2
42Daniele Bennati (Ita) Liquigas-DoimoRow 41 - Cell 2
43Gerben Löwik (Ned) Omega Pharma-LottoRow 42 - Cell 2
44Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Liquigas-DoimoRow 43 - Cell 2
45Luis Pasamontes Rodriguez (Spa) Caisse d'EpargneRow 44 - Cell 2
46Romain Matheou (Fra) Saur - SojasunRow 45 - Cell 2
47Jan Ghyselinck (Bel) Team HTC - ColumbiaRow 46 - Cell 2
48Fabian Wegmann (Ger) Team MilramRow 47 - Cell 2
49Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - MercatorRow 48 - Cell 2
50Steven Cummings (GBr) Sky Professional Cycling TeamRow 49 - Cell 2
51Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Quick StepRow 50 - Cell 2
52Sander Armee (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - MercatorRow 51 - Cell 2
53Adam Hansen (Aus) Team HTC - ColumbiaRow 52 - Cell 2
54Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Liquigas-DoimoRow 53 - Cell 2
55Francisco Perez Sanchez (Spa) Caisse d'EpargneRow 54 - Cell 2
56Rony Martias (Fra) Saur - SojasunRow 55 - Cell 2
57Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Team KatushaRow 56 - Cell 2
58Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Omega Pharma-LottoRow 57 - Cell 2
59Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) RabobankRow 58 - Cell 2
60Borut Bozic (Slo) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling TeamRow 59 - Cell 2
61Frédéric Guesdon (Fra) Française Des JeuxRow 60 - Cell 2
62Julien Berard (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 61 - Cell 2
63Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Omega Pharma-LottoRow 62 - Cell 2
64Timothy Duggan (USA) Garmin - TransitionsRow 63 - Cell 2
65Mickaël Buffaz (Fra) Cofidis, le Credit en LigneRow 64 - Cell 2
66Thierry Hupond (Fra) Skil - ShimanoRow 65 - Cell 2
67Sébastien Minard (Fra) Cofidis, le Credit en LigneRow 66 - Cell 2
68Arnaud Labbe (Fra) Cofidis Le Credit En LigneRow 67 - Cell 2
69Rigoberto Uran (Col) Caisse d'EpargneRow 68 - Cell 2
70Markel Irizar Aranburu (Spa) Team RadioshackRow 69 - Cell 2
71Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Professional Cycling TeamRow 70 - Cell 2
72Arnaud Gerard (Fra) FdjRow 71 - Cell 2
73Christopher Horner (USA) Team RadioshackRow 72 - Cell 2
74Bert De Backer (Bel) Skil - ShimanoRow 73 - Cell 2
75Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Saur - SojasunRow 74 - Cell 2
76Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Team MilramRow 75 - Cell 2
77José Luis Rubiera Vigil (Spa) Team Radioshack0:00:10
78Geoffroy Lequatre (Fra) Team RadioshackRow 77 - Cell 2
79Maciej Paterski (Pol) Liquigas-Doimo0:00:20
80Leif Hoste (Bel) Omega Pharma-LottoRow 79 - Cell 2
81Björn Leukemans (Bel) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team0:00:31
82Jérôme Baugnies (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator0:00:42
83Alberto Ongarato (Ita) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team0:01:03
84Sébastien Hinault (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:01:13
85Sergey Lagutin (Uzb) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team0:01:22
86Marco Marcato (Ita) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling TeamRow 85 - Cell 2
87Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Quick StepRow 86 - Cell 2
88Morgan Kneisky (Fra) Roubaix Lille MetropoleRow 87 - Cell 2
89Matthew Busche (USA) Team Radioshack0:02:08
90Johan Van Summeren (Bel) Garmin - Transitions0:02:22
91Niki Terpstra (Ned) Team MilramRow 90 - Cell 2
92Kurt Hovelynck (Bel) Quick Step0:02:29
93Nadir Haddou (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 93Row 92 - Cell 2
94Vincent Jérôme (Fra) Bbox Bouygues TelecomRow 93 - Cell 2
95Geert Steurs (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - MercatorRow 94 - Cell 2
96Marcin Sapa (Pol) Lampre-Farnese ViniRow 95 - Cell 2
97Ronan Racault (Fra) Big Mat-Auber 93Row 96 - Cell 2
98Juan Mauricio Soler Hernandez (Col) Caisse d'EpargneRow 97 - Cell 2
99Patrick Gretsch (Ger) Team HTC - ColumbiaRow 98 - Cell 2
100Aleksejs Saramotins (Lat) Team HTC - ColumbiaRow 99 - Cell 2
101Blel Kadri (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 100 - Cell 2
102Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) Française Des JeuxRow 101 - Cell 2
103José Vicente Garcia Acosta (Spa) Caisse d'EpargneRow 102 - Cell 2
104Angel Madrazo Ruiz (Spa) Caisse d'EpargneRow 103 - Cell 2
105Anthony Geslin (Fra) Française Des JeuxRow 104 - Cell 2
106Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Nor) Sky Professional Cycling TeamRow 105 - Cell 2
107Frank Hoj (Den) Team Saxo BankRow 106 - Cell 2
108Kjell Carlström (Fin) Sky Professional Cycling TeamRow 107 - Cell 2
109Pieter Jacobs (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - MercatorRow 108 - Cell 2
110Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 109 - Cell 2
111Mathieu Claude (Fra) Bbox Bouygues TelecomRow 110 - Cell 2
112Simon Zahner (Swi) BMC Racing TeamRow 111 - Cell 2
113Daniele Righi (Ita) Lampre-Farnese ViniRow 112 - Cell 2
114Yohann Gène (Fra) Bbox Bouygues TelecomRow 113 - Cell 2
115Dominik Roels (Ger) Team MilramRow 114 - Cell 2
116Jean-Marc Bideau (Fra) Bretagne - SchullerRow 115 - Cell 2
117Denis Galimzyanov (Rus) Team KatushaRow 116 - Cell 2
118Gorik Gardeyn (Bel) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling TeamRow 117 - Cell 2
119Florian Vachon (Fra) Bretagne - SchullerRow 118 - Cell 2
120Jean-Luc Delpech (Fra) Bretagne - SchullerRow 119 - Cell 2
121Mathieu Halleguen (Fra) Bretagne - SchullerRow 120 - Cell 2
122Kasper Klostergaard Larsen (Den) Team Saxo Bank0:03:01
123Laszlo Bodrogi (Fra) Team KatushaRow 122 - Cell 2
124Tom Leezer (Ned) Rabobank0:04:48
125Nikolas Maes (Bel) Quick Step0:05:39
126Jérémie Galland (Fra) Saur - Sojasun0:06:24
127Yannick Talabardon (Fra) Saur - SojasunRow 126 - Cell 2
128Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) Team Katusha0:07:13
129Maxime Vantomme (Bel) Team KatushaRow 128 - Cell 2
130Vicente Reynes Mimo (Spa) Team HTC - Columbia0:07:15
131Guillaume Faucon (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 93Row 130 - Cell 2
132Andreas Stauff (Ger) Quick StepRow 131 - Cell 2
133Kenny Dehaes (Bel) Omega Pharma-LottoRow 132 - Cell 2
134Maxime Méderel (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 93Row 133 - Cell 2
135Adam Blythe (GBr) Omega Pharma-LottoRow 134 - Cell 2
136Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick StepRow 135 - Cell 2
137Olivier Kaisen (Bel) Omega Pharma-LottoRow 136 - Cell 2
138Francesco Chicchi (Ita) Liquigas-DoimoRow 137 - Cell 2
139Christopher Butler (USA) BMC Racing TeamRow 138 - Cell 2
140Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spa) Sky Professional Cycling TeamRow 139 - Cell 2
141Lucas Sebastian Haedo (Arg) Team Saxo BankRow 140 - Cell 2
142Chad Beyer (USA) BMC Racing TeamRow 141 - Cell 2
143Yuriy Krivtsov (Ukr) AG2R La MondialeRow 142 - Cell 2
144Gatis Smukulis (Lat) AG2R La MondialeRow 143 - Cell 2
145Mauro Da Dalto (Ita) Lampre-Farnese ViniRow 144 - Cell 2
146Arnaud Molmy (Fra) Roubaix Lille MetropoleRow 145 - Cell 2
147Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Liquigas-DoimoRow 146 - Cell 2
148Stéphane Bonsergent (Fra) Bretagne - SchullerRow 147 - Cell 2
149Laurent Pichon (Fra) Bretagne - SchullerRow 148 - Cell 2
150Mitchell Docker (Aus) Skil - ShimanoRow 149 - Cell 2
151Robert Wagner (Ger) Skil - ShimanoRow 150 - Cell 2
152Perrig Quemeneur (Fra) Bbox Bouygues TelecomRow 151 - Cell 2
153Albert Timmer (Ned) Skil - ShimanoRow 152 - Cell 2
154Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Bbox Bouygues TelecomRow 153 - Cell 2
155Nick Nuyens (Bel) RabobankRow 154 - Cell 2
156Joost Posthuma (Ned) RabobankRow 155 - Cell 2
157Rick Flens (Ned) RabobankRow 156 - Cell 2
158Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) RabobankRow 157 - Cell 2
159Ivan Rovny (Rus) Team RadioshackRow 158 - Cell 2
160Benoït Vaugrenard (Fra) Française Des JeuxRow 159 - Cell 2
161Raymond Kreder (Ned) Garmin - TransitionsRow 160 - Cell 2
162Roger Kluge (Ger) Team Milram0:07:21
163Michael Mørkøv (Den) Team Saxo BankRow 162 - Cell 2
164Simon Geschke (Ger) Skil - Shimano0:10:01
165Travis Meyer (Aus) Garmin - Transitions0:10:27
166Jonas Aaen Jørgensen (Den) Team Saxo BankRow 165 - Cell 2
167Kevin Hulsmans (Bel) Quick Step0:11:46
168Stéphane Poulhies (Fra) Saur - Sojasun0:12:20
169Mikhail Ignatiev (Rus) Team KatushaRow 168 - Cell 2
170Jaroslaw Marycz (Pol) Team Saxo BankRow 169 - Cell 2
171Jens Mouris (Ned) Vacansoleil Pro Cycling TeamRow 170 - Cell 2
172David Loosli (Swi) Lampre-Farnese ViniRow 171 - Cell 2
173Adriano Malori (Ita) Lampre - FarneseRow 172 - Cell 2
DNFMirco Lorenzetto (Ita) Lampre-Farnese ViniRow 173 - Cell 2
DNFTristan Valentin (Fra) Cofidis, le Credit en LigneRow 174 - Cell 2
DNFKristof Goddaert (Bel) AG2R La MondialeRow 175 - Cell 2
DNFNicolas Portal (Fra) Sky Professional Cycling TeamRow 176 - Cell 2
DNFAlessandro Ballan (Ita) BMC Racing TeamRow 177 - Cell 2
DNFAlberto Losada Alguacil (Spa) Caisse d'EpargneRow 178 - Cell 2
DNFRicardo Van Der Velde (Ned) Garmin - TransitionsRow 179 - Cell 2
DNFFrantisek Rabon (Cze) Team HTC - ColumbiaRow 180 - Cell 2
DNFFlorian Guillou (Fra) Bretagne - SchullerRow 181 - Cell 2
DNFJimmy Engoulvent (Fra) Saur - SojasunRow 182 - Cell 2
DNFLars Petter Nordhaug (Nor) Sky Professional Cycling TeamRow 183 - Cell 2
DNFJeffry Louder (USA) BMC Racing TeamRow 184 - Cell 2
DNFCole House (USA) BMC Racing TeamRow 185 - Cell 2
DNFTiziano Dall'Antonia (Ita) Liquigas-DoimoRow 186 - Cell 2
DNFJos Van Emden (Ned) RabobankRow 187 - Cell 2
DNFAlexandre Lemair (Fra) Roubaix Lille MetropoleRow 188 - Cell 2
DNFMarkus Eichler (Ger) Team MilramRow 189 - Cell 2

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