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Page last updated at 09:05 GMT, Monday, 22 March 2010

Oscar Freire wins Milan-San Remo Classic for third time

Oscar Freire crosses the Milan-San Remo finish
Freire was world champion in 1999, 2001 and 2004

Spain's Oscar Freire surprised the favourites to win the Milan-San Remo classic for the third time on Saturday.

Freire, 34, who triumphed in 2004 and 2007, surged ahead in the final stretch to outsprint Belgian Tom Boonen.

Britain's Mark Cavendish, who won the event in 2009, was dropped 23km from the finish having already had to change a wheel because of a puncture.

"There is a new generation of cyclists coming of age but old riders like me are still competitive," said Freire.

"I've won four out of the five sprints I've contested this year."

The contest ended for an out-of-sorts Cavendish, whose season start was delayed by dental problems, on the penultimate climb.


"I had the spokes ripped out of my front wheel and had to chase to get back on," he told The Guardian.

"I got back on and then there was a crash. I chased again, got on again but on the descent of the Manie I crashed. So I went from the front to the back and had to chase again."

Italian Alessandro Petacchi finished third in the first big classic race of the season.

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see also
Mark Cavendish crashes in Italy
17 Mar 10 |  Cycling
Rain ends Cavendish's final stage
26 Feb 10 |  Cycling
Aldag eyes good Cavendish season
19 Feb 10 |  Cycling
Cavendish ready for 2010 season
17 Feb 10 |  Cycling
Cavendish delays start of season
22 Jan 10 |  Cycling

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