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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 March, 2005, 15:43 GMT
Freire takes ProTour series lead
Oscar Freire
Oscar Freire won three stages of the seven-stage race
Oscar Freire claimed the lead in the new ProTour series after winning the Tirreno-Adriatico race.

The Spaniard finished in the pack as Alessandro Petacchi won the final stage after beating Mario Cipollini and Danilo Hondo in a mass sprint finish.

Freire, who won three stages in the seven-stage event, moved ahead of Bobby Julich in the ProTour standings.

The next race in the competition is Saturday's Milan-San Remo one-day classic over a distance of 294km.

"I'm very happy to have won and to have ridden so well during all the race," said Freire, who took the overall lead after stage two.

Alessandro Petacchi is the strongest sprinter on flat stages but nobody can win all the time
Oscar Freire

"I felt good right from the first day and won three stages thanks to my climbing and sprinting ability."

And the 29-year-old is confident he can repeat the performance in San Remo.

"I'm at 100% of my form and so we'll have to see if I'm also lucky on Saturday," said Freire.

"Like last year, I know I'm going to have win the sprint to win San Remo but I think I can do it.

"Alessandro Petacchi is the strongest sprinter on flat stages but nobody can win all the time and San Remo never ends with a normal sprint because of the distance and the final hills."

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