End of the road for Freire

Three-time world champion Oscar Freire has competed for the final time after his Katusha team confirmed his absence from Sunday's Paris-Tours race.

The 36-year-old Spaniard, who won the rainbow jersey in 1999, 2001 and 2004, was 10th in this year's World Championships in Valkenburg which will be his final race.

His 15th year in the pro peloton was marred by a fall at the Tour de France that saw him puncture a lung and suffer broken ribs.

Freire began his career with Vitalicio Seguros in 1998 and also represented Mapei-Quick Step (2000-02) and Rabobank (2003-11) before joining the Russian squad this year.

Freire also has three victories in Milan-Sanremo (2004, 2007, 2010), the green jersey and four stages of the Tour de France plus seven stage wins in the Vuelta a Espana on his palmares.