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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

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

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