WEVELGEM, Belgium -- Rabobank rider Oscar Freire has won a sprint finish to the 70th edition of the Ghent-Wevelgem classic in Belgium on Wednesday.
Oscar Freire proved the strongest to become the first Spaniard to win the Ghent-Wevelgem classic.
The triple world champion proved too strong for Swiss rider Aurelien Clerc, Belgian Wouter Weylandt and German veteran Erik Zabel in a bunch finish to become the first Spaniard to capture the prestigious title.
The 209km race, sandwiched between the Tour of Flanders and the Paris-Roubaix on the ProTour calendar, was marked by a near 100km-long breakaway led by Ermanno Capelli.
The Italian was joined after Mont Kemmel, the second of the day's climbs, by his compatriot Filippo Pozzato and local hope Philippe Gilbert with the leaders rejoining the main pack 26km from the finish.
Norwegian Kurt-Asle Arvesen and then Swiss Martin Elmiger broke again 20km out with this duo being joined by Frederic Guesdon, Manuel Quinziato and Australian Stuart O'Grady.
The peloton, pushed by riders from the Rabobank, High Road, Quick Step and Barloworld teams, caught this quintet with 3km to go, with Freire prevailing in the dash for the line.
"My legs were strong, I asked the team to control things," said the 32-year-old Freire whose three world titles came in 1999, 2001 and 2004. E-mail to a friend