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Monday, 19 December 2011 15:53

Óscar Freire Gómez (born February 15, 1976 in Torrelavega, Cantabria) is a Spanish professional road bicycle racer, riding for the Team Kathusa He is one of the top sprinters in road bicycle racing, having won the world championship a three times, equalling Alfredo Binda, Rik Van Steenbergen and Eddy Merckx. He has also won Milan – San Remo three times.

Freire became professional in 1998 with Vitalicio Seguros. He won one race that year, a stage of the Vuelta a Castilla y León. He came 11th in Paris–Tours. In 1999, Freire won little until the world championship in October. He went to Verona to make up numbers in the Spanish team. He spent his prize on an elevator for his grandmother's apartment.Mapei-Quick Step (2000–2002)

Freire joined Mapei in 2000. It had been ranked best team since 1994. That year he won 11 races including two stages in the Vuelta a España. He also came third place in the world championship. In 2001 he won two races and took the points competition in the Vuelta a Burgos, before becoming world champion for the second time. In 2002 he won a stage in the Tour de France.Rabobank (2003–2011)

In 2003, Freire moved to Rabobank, where in his first season he won six races. In 2004 he won Milan – San Remo, Trofeo Luis Puig, a stage and second place overall in Tirreno–Adriatico, a stage in the Vuelta a España and for the third time, and the second time in Verona, the world championship. He started 2005 winning three stages, the points classification and the yellow jersey at Tirreno–Adriatico, as well as the Brabantse Pijl, Trofeo Alcudia and Trofeo Mallorca, all before the end of March. His season was then cut short by a saddle sore.

In 2006, Freire won his second consecutive Brabantse Pijl. His stage 3 win at Tirreno–Adriatico allowed him to lead for two days. At the Tour de Suisse, he survived an early break of four riders to win alone on stage 7. Freire won the fifth and ninth stages in the 2006 Tour de France and was contesting the points classification when he retired due to illness. Freire continued his successful year by winning the Vattenfall Cyclassics ahead of German favourite Erik Zabel. Freire had half of Rabobank’s victories in 2006. His season was cut short by neck and spinal injuries, forcing him to miss the Vuelta a España and world championship. Freire re-signed for Rabobank in late 2006 until the end of 2008.

In the 2007 Tour de France, he did not win a stage, partly because Rabobank was defending Michael Rasmussen's lead for a large part of the race. But he won three stages in the Vuelta a España. In the 2008 Tour, Freire wore the green jersey from stage 8. He won stage 14 and the points classification. In the 2009 Tour he and Julian Dean were shot by an air rifle during the 13th stage from Vittel to Colmar. He was shot in the thigh and finished the stage 117th.[1] Freire’s career has been blighted with injury and lay-offs. He had back problems, saddle sores and neck problems.

In March 2010, Freire won the 2010 Milan – San Remo in front of Tom Boonen and Alessandro Petacchi. On October 10, 2010 Freire became the first Spaniard to win Paris-Tours and in doing so became the new holder of the Ruban Jaune for setting the fastest average speed in a classic race, he covered the 233 km at an average of 47.73 km per hour.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 December 2011 07:13