Shorts: Freire, Ag2r, Recycling

Freire given go-ahead to recommence training, Ag2r extend commitment and look to ProTour, more succe

Freire given go-ahead to recommence training, Ag2r extend commitment and look to ProTour, more succe



Oscar Freire has been given the go-ahead to recommence training by his doctors after spending three weeks off the bike in order to rest a pelvis injury. The 29-year-old world champion is set to ride next month’s Tour of Switzerland in preparation for the Tour de France. However, the Spaniard is already looking to objectives further ahead in the season, and was in Madrid earlier this week looking at the course for the world championships in September.

– The Ag2r Prvoyance insurance company have committed themselves to backing Vincent Lavenu’s team until the end of 2007, and are considering extending their sponsorship into 2008. At a press conference in the French city of Lyon on Tuesday, Ag2r secretary-general Yvon Breton also revealed that the team is hoping to gain entry to the ProTour. With this in mind, they are looking for a co-sponsor who could help raise the team’s budget from four million euros to twice that amount.

“There is the chance that we could get Fassa Bortolo’s licence in 2006 or the option that we could get a licence when another team’s expires in 2007 or 2008,” said Lavenu.

–’s Chris Newton completed a double by taking his second stage win in a row at the FBD Insurance RAS in Ireland on Tuesday. Resplendent in his yellow leader’s jersey, Newton once again outsprinted Malcolm Elliott (Trinity Capital) after the pair were part of an 11-man front group that also included team-mates Rob Sharman and Evan Oliphant (representing Scotland), who finished seventh and 11th respectively.

The winning move formed when Newton’s team-mates set a blistering pace on the day’s second climb, Corkscrew Hill, causing the near-200-rider field to split on the tough ascent, with 11 riders topping the summit alone.

This group forged ahead and with 2km to go they had insurmountable lead of 31 seconds. Elliott was to be frustrated once again as Newton came round him just before the line to confidently throw his hands in the air to take the win.


“My team mates did a tremendous job today, they lit it up by going very hard on the last climb, causing a split,” said Newton. “It was just a matter of working from there. I didn’t intend going for the stage, but it was one of those slightly uphill finishes were everyone fanned out across the road. So you may as well go for it then. It’s nice to take another stage.”