Oscar Freire (Rabobank) is slipperier than a fish in the fast-moving waters of the bunch sprints at the Vuelta a España.
For the better part of Thursday’s 184.3km sixth stage across Spain’s Rioja wine country, Freire was jabbering with friends at the back of the peloton, flitting around as if killing time before getting down to the business end of the stage.
With a few short weeks before the 2007 world championship road race, Oscar Freire (Rabobank) looks almost unbeatable in the sprint as he aims for his fourth rainbow jersey in Stuttgart on September 30.
[nid:40358]The three-time world champ scored his second win in five days in Wednesday’s 157.4km fifth stage at the Vuelta a España with an explosive sprint that left the rest in the peloton shaking their heads in disbelief.
[nid:40341]Good thing Vladimir Efimkin's twin brother, Alexander, isn't at the Vuelta a España. Just moments after surprising the favorites on the Vuelta's hardest climb to surge into the overall leader's jersey, the 25-year-old Caisse d'Epargne rider was beating the drum of Alexander, who rides on rival Barloworld. "My brother is the one who you will be hearing about in the coming years," said Efimkin, who soloed to victory in Tuesday's epic climb to Lagos de Covadonga. "He trains harder than me, he's a better climber than me.
Reigning world champion Paolo Bettini says he’s not superstitious, but he was probably having his doubts after what’s been a long season for the usually prolific Tuscan tiger.
Bettini (Quick Step-Innergetic) came into the Vuelta a España with just one victory on the 2007 season and was relieved with his sprint victory Monday ahead of Óscar Freire Gómez (Rabobank) and Allan Davis (Discovery Channel) to end a winless streak dating back to February’s Tour of California.
A day after finishing second, Spanish ace Oscar Freire (Rabobank) got it right in Sunday’s crash-marred second stage to win and move into the overall lead at the Vuelta a España.
And a day after American climber Tom Danielson (Discovery Channel) was KO’d with a broken shoulder, it was Christian Vande Velde’s turn. The Team CSC rider crashed twice but was able to finish the hilly stage despite some nasty road rash.
[nid:40251]Daniele Bennati (Lampre-Fondital) picked up where he left off, putting a nice bookend victory in Saturday’s 154.4km opener at the Vuelta a España to go along with his triumph in the final stage on the Champs Elysées at the Tour de France.
The brawny Italian hitched a ride on Milram’s setup train and out-kicked a superstar field to win for the eighth time this season ahead of three-time world champion Oscar Freire (Rabobank) and Alessandro Petacchi (Milram), who came through third.
Cofidis’s David Millar stopped half a meter short of the finish line of the Tour of Spain's killer 15th stage on Sunday in protest at the conditions on the Vuelta's most feared and notorious climb.
Millar refused to cross the line after climbing to the top of Angliru. According to Victor Cordero, sport director for the Vuelta a Espana race organization, Millar arrived to the finish line but declined to cross it.