Oscar Bravo - Bike Magic

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Oscar Bravo

It was déjà vu in Lisbon for Spain’s Oscar Friere as he won his second rainbow jersey with a dramatic sprint finish in the men’s World Championship road race. The fast finishing Spaniard won the title with a similar move in Verona in 1999. Friere has managed to rescue a disastrous season, in which he has raced only 31 days this year, by coming home ahead of Paulo Bettini and surprise podium finisher Andrej Hautman.

The race kicked off under overcast and grey conditions and the nervy peleton showed little interest as unknown riders launched themselves off in early suicide breakaways. But as the sun broke clear the big guns began to surface at the front. Race favourite and world time trial champ Jan Ullrich was one of the first to take control, obviously feeling confident of a first pro road race title. Meanwhile the increasing pace was proving too much for last year’s winner Romans Vainstains and Brit David Millar.

Despite several attempts to break away the peleton was still together on the final lap. First to try his luck was Giro champ, Gilberto Simoni. The Italian’s move brought the race into a frenzy of attacks and couter attacks as the heavy weights such as Boogerd and Leipheimer tore away from the favourites. However Ullirch was heavily marked and even a late attack from evergreen rider Andrei Tchmil of Belgium could not disturb the inevitable outcome of this fascinating race.

As Dekker led out the sprint Friere came around him and proved too strong for Germany’s Erik Zabel. As for the Italians, they will have to wait another year for world champion.

1 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) 6.07.21 (40.504 km/h)

2 Paolo Bettini (Ita)

3 Andrej Hauptman (Slo)

4 Erik Dekker (Ned)

5 Erik Zabel (Ger)

6 Piotr Wadecki (Pol)

7 Giuliano Figueras (Ita)

8 Guennadi Mikhailov (Rus)

9 Tomas Konecny (Cze)

10 Beat Zberg (Swi)

11 Michele Bartoli (Ita)

12 Paolo Lanfranchi (Ita)

13 Jan Ullrich (Ger)


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