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Oscar Freire Gomez (Katusha)
Katusha team confirms official retirement
Triple world champion Oscar Freire has officially retired from the sport. He will not be at the start line in Sunday's Paris-Tours, his Katusha team announced, although the French race was his last Classics win in 2010. The Limburg World Championship road event, in which he finished tenth, was therefore his very last appearance as a pro cyclist.
The 36-year-old is now evaluating several offers made by pro cycling teams to become part of team management, according to Biciciclismo. More than two months ago already, Basque squad Euskaltel-Euskadi contacted the Spaniard in view of a deal that would have included active racing in 2013 until the Tour of the Basque Country - including Milan-San Remo - and then joining team staff as a coach, in a similar position as Erik Zabel at Katusha.
Although this long-term offer was attractive, Freire turned it down, explaining to team manager Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano that his intention of hanging up the bike at the end of this season was firm. In the meantime, another unnamed World Tour team reportedly made the multiple Classics winner a proposal within its management, but Freire declined this one, too.
Freire has had more than 70 victories in his pro career, including four at the Vuelta a Espana and seven at the Tour de France. He also won the Tour's green jersey of best sprinter in 2008. But his perhaps greatest victories were achieved in one-day races: winning the World Championships three times, he also added three wins of Milan-San Remo to his palmarès, as well as the Hamburg Vattenfall Cyclassics, Gent-Wevelgem and Paris-Tours.