Freire Wins Stage 1 of Ruta del Sol
Oscar Freire (Rabobank) has won Stage 1 of the Ruta del Sol.
Oscar Freire (Rabobank) has won Stage 1 of the Ruta del Sol. The two-time world champion bested Erik Zabel (Telekom) and Luca Paolini (Quick Step) to take the 179.6-km stage in and around Cordoba in 4:46:29. Freire is the early leader in the five-day race.
The racing started early. At 14 km, Xavier Tondo (Paternina) attacked and led by 7:30 at 95 km. Lotto and Rabobank began to chase, and the bunch reeled in the break 36 km later.
In the last 20 km, numerous attacks occurred. David Etxebarria and Samuel Sanchez (both from Euskaltel) sortied. So did Gustavo Toledo and Jose Luis Martinez (both from Paternina). Telekom and Rabobank took over the pacemaking and ended the attacking. The stage came down to a sprint, which Freire won easily.
In the overall, Freire leads Zabel and Paolini. Stage 2 might not change matters. The 165-km run from Sevilla to Huelva features one Category 3 climb and should end in a sprint. Who will take it? Freire? Zabel? Check in at http://www.roadcycling.com/ and find out!