TOURS, France -- Three-time world champion Oscar Freire of Spain won the Paris-Tours classic in a bunched sprint finish on Sunday.
Freire made his move at the end of the 144.5-mile route from La Loupe to Tours, overtaking Angelo Furlan of Italy at the line. Gerg Steegmans of Belgium was third.
"The conditions were OK," Freire said. "I tried to stay near the front because there were a lot of attacks. In the end, we controlled the race."
Freire's win was a morale boost after the 34-year-old cyclist finished a disappointing sixth at the world championship road race in Geelong, Australia, a week ago.
"I was in good condition for the worlds, but we did a really bad race because we were at the back just at an important moment," said Freire, who won Sunday's race in 4 hours, 52 minutes, 54 seconds. "Today was another chance."
Freire won his third Milan-San Remo classic in March.
After French rider, Stephane Bonsergent, crashed with about 12.4 miles to go, and fellow Frenchman Geoffroy Lequatre launched a solo attack and forged ahead.
With just a couple miles left on a winding, sinewy finish with few long stretches to pick up speed, Lequatre had opened a lead of 24 seconds on the chasing pack.
Only Italian rider Matteo Tosatto tried to follow him, but he was soon caught up, while Lequatre was overtaken about 400 meters from the finish line.
Lequatre's best career performance is a stage win at the Tour of Britain in 2008, where he briefly wore the race leader's yellow jersey.
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press
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