Team Rabobank has announced that Oscar Freire has now officially extended his contract for another two seasons. The new deal between the Dutch squad and the Spanish triple world champion will expire at the end of the 2008 season.
During this year's Tour de France, Oscar Freire and general director Theo de Rooij had already reached an agreement in principle. In France, Russian GC specialist Denis Menchov also signed for another two seasons with Rabobank.
Freire, who made the switch to Rabobank in 2003, recorded 32 victories in his Rabobank jersey. Since 1998, the year in which he became a professional rider, his total number of victories stands at 60.
With 10 victories in 2006, this season has been his most successful season. Amongst others, Freire won a stage in Tirreno-Adriatico, the Flèche Brabançonne, a stage in the Vuelta a Pais Vasco and a stage in the Tour de Suisse. However, his three best victories were sprints: two in the Tour de France, as well as one in the Vattenfall Cyclassics in Hamburg, Germany.
The winner of the U23 version of Paris-Roubaix this year, Tom Veelers, has also renewed his contract with Rabobank. The winner of Olympia's Tour has now been signed until the end of the 2008 season.
There is a chance that Veelers will make the switch from the Continental squad to the Rabobank ProTeam in 2007. At the end of the current season, Veelers will have to undergo surgery to his stomach. With the operation, the not always perfect functioning valve between the stomach and the oesophagus will be fixed.
"For Tom himself a complete recovery is important," said De Rooij. "After the operation, Tom needs to prove that he is able to return at the top level of this season. Otherwise Tom will stay with our Continental Team. But of course we hope that Tom will make the same progress after his operation. The team will fully support him."
Despite being hindered by his stomach problems, Veelers had his best races this season. In May, he dominated Olympia's Tour, winning three stages and the overall classification, and in April, his showed splendid form again by beating Kristoffer Nielsen from Denmark in the sprint at the velodrome in Roubaix.