As the countdown to Milan-San Remo continues, defending champion Oscar Freire (Rabobank) has voiced his opinion to Spanish sports daily MARCA on another opinion altogether – EPO.
The UCI is currently pushing for first-time bans on riders who test positive for EPO and other ‘serious’ substances to be raised from two years to four, but Freire doesn’t feel that is enough.
“If they catch somebody with EPO they should ban them for six years, or even for life,” Freire told MARCA. “That would only be fair.”
Looking at Milan-San Remo, Freire did not take part in any of the sprints in Tirreno-Adriatico, a race he has won overall in the past, because “the first was too dangerous and in the second I was blocked in. There weren’t any more.”
“Last year the media forgot about me because I didn’t do anything in Tirreno and then I won. Us riders, though, know who’s in good shape or not.”
“My form’s good, I’m in virtually the same form as last year, except I’ve got a bit of a cold. Everything else is under control.”
“What I’d like is a fast race, to make sure that everybody’s suffering a bit at the end. That’s the kind of race that suits me.”
In the same interview Freire has said that he prefers racing without a radio, because “it’s better for the spectacle and in terms of safety, it’s very relative.”
“It’s true that if you fall into a ravine then having a radio will help you, but a lot of the time crashes are caused by race radios, because the sports directors pile on the pressure and we all want to be in the same place, on the front on the corners, when we don’t all fit!”
Freire also confirmed that he will continue for another year after 2011, with the 2012 Olympic Games road-race as a big target.