Six Days Of The Worlds – Defining Moments: Oscar Freire 1999

Oscar parties like it's 1999. Photo: Cor Vos

Verona, Italy, 1999.

You’re 259 kms into the World Championship Road Race, and you find yourself in a select group of nine riders. You look around and see you are surrounded by a veritable who’s who of the pro peloton.  Ullrich, Vandenbroucke, Zberg, Konyshev, Casagrande, Camenzind.  “Do these guys even know who I am, or even if I exist right now?” you think to yourself.  Probably not, they’re too busy watching each other, because they know who each other are only too well.  Fools.

500 metres to go, you jump suddenly, violently from the back of the group, and as the favourites look dumbfounded and wonder what happened and who is going to chase, you quickly bulid up a gap. You are amazed, but relieved, grateful, exuberant as the gap proves big enough to take you all the way to the line, with time to throw your arms in the air and savour the moment that would elevate you from “Oscar who?” into one of the finest sprinters and one-day riders of the next decade.

You are Oscar Freire, and this will forever be your defining moment.


Related Posts

8 Replies to “Six Days Of The Worlds – Defining Moments: Oscar Freire 1999”

  1. What a finish. That was the last time he got away with that tactic. And to have won the worlds three times, totally awesome. I bet he won the other two by one meter instead of forty.

    It sounds like the weight of a nation is on him again this year, and it’s easy to count him out but he is tough like Zabel and makes it to the finishes that the other big sprinters don’t. Can he win again 11 years later? Bet against him at your peril lads.

  2. I’ve never been a fan of his, for some reason, although he fits the profile of “dudes I dig”. I guess that’s “being a fan”. There’s no rhyme or reason.

    He’s won a few pretty big races since, and while I think he’s an example of the “modern world champion”, he won this race against the best names in the sport.

    If anyone ever deserved to become World Champion, it was Erik Zabel, n’est ce pas?

  3. The best thing about Oscarito and ’99? He didn’t have a ride for the following year, had only come back from injury about a week before and was only on the Spanish team to make up the number. Apparently he celebrated the win by buying his grandmother a stair-lift.

    Completely disagree, no-one “deserves” to be world champion, but what does being a “modern world champion” entail? Zabel was boring in the extreme as well – as mechanical as Armstrong. as reliant on a lead-out as Cavendish. Oscarito has won three world titles. Milan-San Remo three times and the Green Jersey all while having a recurring back injury that has made him miss almost half of his career. He’s just not bling, like a Pantani (or other self-agrandising idiots)

  4. Oh and ’99 was the year that Ullrich was working for VDB to re-pay him for the work VDB did to help Tubby win the Vuelta that year. All that went wrong was that VDB crashed early and broke both his wrists, limiting his effectiveness and meaning he only finished 7th. Must have been all those painkillers that got him to the finish, couldn’t think what else would.

  5. @Jarvis
    Boy, I don’t really remember Zabel ever having any kind of leadout train. All the Tours where he won Green, he was always riding in a team built around Ulli.

    You’re right, though, you don’t “deserve” to be a champ, you earn it. I suppose I meant to say, he was routinely the best rider in the world (on the rankings) and you’d expect a guy like that to win the bands at some point.

  6. Kelly was the same, although there is a wild allegation that sold ’89.

    I always though Zabel had a few riders who would act as a leadout and only in the later years as they became more obsessed with winning the tour that they poured all resources into Tubby. Isn’t that why he quit?

  7. Ah what a brilliant attack! Similar to Ballan’s 2008, though I think I may like this one better….

  8. Will he do it again this year? He’s looking as strong as ever. And when is Oscarito not a contender for the world championship?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.