Road

Sunday’s EuroFile: Freire takes Luis Puig; Hushovd at Haribo; Levi in winning break at Haut Var

Two-time world champion Oscar Freire (Rabobank) is known for his quicksprint, but the Spanish rider won Sunday’s Trofeo Luis Puig after holdingout on a solo bid to spoil the fiesta for the sprinters.The Spanish semi-classic held over a rolling course between Valenciaand Benidorm along Spain’s sunny Mediterranean Coast hit the difficultAlto del Coll de Rates early on. Freire joined several riders who peeledaway from the main bunch on the descent.Joining Freire were four other Spanish riders: Ruben Plaza, Toni Colom,Koldo Gil and Bingen Fernandez. The quartet held a 30-second gap on thebunch,

By Andrew Hood

Two-time world champion Oscar Freire (Rabobank) is known for his quicksprint, but the Spanish rider won Sunday’s Trofeo Luis Puig after holdingout on a solo bid to spoil the fiesta for the sprinters.The Spanish semi-classic held over a rolling course between Valenciaand Benidorm along Spain’s sunny Mediterranean Coast hit the difficultAlto del Coll de Rates early on. Freire joined several riders who peeledaway from the main bunch on the descent.Joining Freire were four other Spanish riders: Ruben Plaza, Toni Colom,Koldo Gil and Bingen Fernandez. The quartet held a 30-second gap on thebunch, led by T-Mobile anxious to send Zabel into the sprint.Freire jumped off the front of the break coming through a series oftraffic circles about 5km from the finish line. The bunch caught the remainderof the break and Alejandro Valverde (Kelme) came through to take second.Trofeo Luis Puig (UCI 1.2)
1. Oscar Freire (Sp), 197km Rabobank
2. Alejandro Valverde (Sp), Valenciana-Kelme
3. Josu Silloniz (Sp), Euskaltel
4. Erik Zabel (G), T-Mobile
5. Luis Pasamontes (Sp)Hushovd takes sweet win at Haribo
Norwegian sprinter Thor Hushovd (Crédit Agricole) won Sunday’s11th Classic Haribo to claim his second win of the 2004 season.The racing was brisk with nearly 200 riders from 25 teams taking thestart on the 204km course between Uzès and Marseille. Nicolas Jalabert(Phonak) and Dimitri Fofonov (Cofidis) attacked at 73 km and built up afour minute lead at 150km.At 170km, Bobbie Traskel (Rabobank) and Davide Bramati (Quick Step)tried to bridge out, but the peloton got busy to trim the lead down to2:45 with 15km to go to set up the sprint.Hushovd held off Gabriele Balducci (Saeco) to win the second stop ofthe French Cup. The Haribo race is sponsored by a candy-maker and all ridersgot a box of goodies.11th Classic Haribo (UCI 2.3)
1. Thor Hushovd (Nor), Credit Agricole, 204km in 4:29:27
2. Gabriele Balducci (I), Saeco
3. Sebastien Hinault (F), Credit Agricole
4. Angelo Furlan (I), Alessio-Bianchi
5. Rik Reinerink (Ned), Chocolade Jacques   all same timeLeipheimer 5th at Haut Var
American Levi Leipheimer finished fifth in Saturday’s Tour du HautVar as Rabobank teammate Marc Lotz won a five-up sprint as part of a breakawaythat dominated the day’s action.Driving rain and fierce winds paid a heavy toll on the peloton, as only43 riders finished the 180km race near Draguignan to open the French Cupseries.Leipheimer was part of a group off nine riders who attacked before theday’s feed zone. Joining the American were: Lotz, FrédéricBessy and Dimitri Fofonov (both Cofidis), Bram Tankink (Quick Step), StijnDevolder (US Postal Service), Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner), Mirko Celestino(Saeco) and Massimo Iannetti (Domina Vacanze) attacked at 144km and heldoff the chasing peloton.Attrition started to thin the group and Rabobank and Cofidis each hadtwo riders in for the sprint, but Lotz was the fastest to hold off Fofonov.Devolder, the younger Belgian picked up by U.S. Postal Service this season,came through to complete the podium.A chase group led by came through at 1:10 back.Tour du Haut Var (UCI 1.2)
1. Marc Lotz (Ned), Rabobank, 180km in 4:49:13
2. Dimitri Fofonov (Kaz), Cofidis
3. Stijn Devolder (B), USPS
4. Frédéric Bessy (F), Cofidis, allsame time
5. Levi Leipheimer (USA), Rabobank  +0:10