Oscar Freire wants to continue in 2012, but future team unknown
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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Oscar Freire wants to continue in 2012, but future team unknown

by Shane Stokes at 6:47 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Brother and agent Antonio Freire speaks of a misunderstanding with Rabobank

Oscar FreireThere is uncertainty about where Oscar Freire will compete in 2012, although suggestions that he could retire appear likely to be unfounded. Earlier today EldiarioMontanes.es reported that a verbal agreement had been reached with his current Rabobank team; not so, responded team media officer Luuc Eisenga, who indicated via Twitter that no such offer existed.

“For the record: after Oscar Freire formally confirmed he would retire, we withdrew the offer we made,” he said.

Spanish website BiciCiclismo subsequently spoke to the rider’s brother and agent Antonio Freire, who said that the triple world champion had made a ‘final’ decision to continue next year, but that there had been some confusion. “Today there is no offer on the table,” he stated. “From yesterday to today the situation has changed a lot because things have been misunderstood.”

Freire has been deliberating for much of this season if he would continue next season or not, although most reports of late suggested that he would. There have been mixed messages, though: Antonio Freire said in August that he would like to race with a Spanish team if the possibility arose, but he informed Rabobank in mid-September that his brother would not continue.

“Oscar has himself stopped the contract negotiations for next year,” he told De Telegraaf then. “After the world championships, he will see if the sequel to his career is coming.”

Freire was aiming to win what would have been a record fourth Elite title in Copenhagen, but was only ninth in the sprint to the line. He said afterwards that he was badly positioned when the sprint began.

The rider has had a solid season, with two stage wins in the Vuelta a Andalucia being followed by second on a stage of the Vuelta al Pais Vasco, sixth in the Amstel Gold Race, third and fifth on stages of the Tour de Romandie, fourth on a stage of the Tour of California and third on stage seven of the Vuelta a España. More recently he was seventh in the GP de Wallonie, then went on to take that top ten finish in the world championships.

Despite those respectable results, though, he has picked up just 38 WorldTour points and sits back in 91st place in those rankings. This lessens his bargaining power with teams, although he is also a rider who can never be ruled out and who can scoop a top victory at times when is least expected.

With career results such as three rainbow jerseys, three editions of Milan-Sanremo, four stages plus the green jersey in the Tour de France and seven stages of the Vuelta a España, it’s hard to believe that his career could end because of a lack of offers.

Despite today’s setback, so, it seems likely he’ll yet find a big team in 2012. However as things stand, it appears very likely he’ll be ending his nine year partnership with the Dutch Rabobank team. The days ahead should give a clearer indication as to where his destination will be.


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