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Thursday’s EuroFile: Freire takes Ruta; UCI urges ProTour teams to skip Paris-Nice

Freire takes Ruta by a second over CioniSpaniard Oscar Freire (Rabobank) won the final stage and the overall at the Ruta del Sol on Thursday, taking the victory from Dario Cioni (Predictor-Lotto) by a single second. The 170.9km stage from Ecija to Antequera was marked by an early break by Netherlander Piet Rooijakkers (Skil-Shimano) and Spaniard Benat Albizuri (Euskaltel-Euskadi), who built a lead of six minutes before being retrieved as the peloton entered Antequera. There, Freire finished two seconds up on a small group containing Cioni, who had led the race since Sunday. Ruta del

By Agence France-Presse

Freire takes Ruta by a second over Cioni
Spaniard Oscar Freire (Rabobank) won the final stage and the overall at the Ruta del Sol on Thursday, taking the victory from Dario Cioni (Predictor-Lotto) by a single second.

The 170.9km stage from Ecija to Antequera was marked by an early break by Netherlander Piet Rooijakkers (Skil-Shimano) and Spaniard Benat Albizuri (Euskaltel-Euskadi), who built a lead of six minutes before being retrieved as the peloton entered Antequera.

There, Freire finished two seconds up on a small group containing Cioni, who had led the race since Sunday.

Ruta del Sol
Stage results

1. Oscar Freire (Sp),Rabobank), 170.9km in 4:34:19
2. Koldo Fernández de Larrea (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 0:02
3. Manuele Mori (I), Saunier Duval-Prodir, s.t.
4. Francisco José Ventoso (Sp), Saunier Duval-Prodir, s.t.
5. Tadej Valjavec (Slo), Lampre-Fondital, s.t.

Final overall
1. Oscar Freire (Sp), Rabobank), 20:20:55
2. Dario Cioni (I), Predictor-Lotto, at 0:01
3. Tadej Valjavec (Slo), Lampre-Fondital, at 0:02
4. Francisco José Ventoso (Sp), Saunier Duval-Prodir, s.t.
5. Koldo Fernández de Larrea (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 0:06

UCI urges ProTour teams to skip Paris-Nice
The heat is building up in the row between cycling’s governing body and race organizers with the UCI asking teams to boycott this year’s Paris-Nice.

Spokesmen for several teams say UCI president Pat McQuaid has sent a letter pressuring them to skip the prestigious event due to the UCI’s dispute with race organizer ASO, which also runs the Tour de France.

UCI rules deem that all ProTour teams must be invited to ProTour events. However, ASO refused to send an invitation to Belgian-Swedish team Unibet.com.

“It is clear that in this situation no ProTour team can take part in Paris-Nice,” McQuaid is said to have written in the letter.

However, it seems that the UCI will have a tough job persuading the teams to follow its dictum. The French team Cofidis already has ruled out boycotting the March 11-18 event.

General manager Eric Boyer said team management was thinking of its sponsors “and above all for our riders, who are there to ride and certainly not to be held hostage over a conflict between the international federation and the organizers.”