The future of three-time world champion Oscar Freire remains unclear, with his Rabobank team indicating that the Spanish sprinter has told them he is set to retire. “As it stands now there is no offer on the table for Oscar,” Rabobank PR Luuc Eisenga told Cyclingnews on Wednesday morning.
Eisenga has also told Spanish website Biciciclismo.com that, “Oscar has informed us that he is leaving cycling. With that being the case we have withdrawn our offer. That’s the situation.”
However, El Diario Montañés, the local paper in Freire’s home region of Cantabria, has a different version of events. It claims that there is “total agreement” that Freire will ride for one more year with the Dutch team he’s been with since 2003. The paper does add, though, that the deal has yet to be signed.
Freire’s brother and manager Antonio has been in negotiations with Rabobank and a number of other teams since before the Vuelta a España. Freire has previously said that he would like to finish his career with a Spanish team, and it has been widely reported that Antonio Freire did discuss his brother’s situation with both Movistar and Geox. Freire himself said that the proposals he received didn’t show “sufficient interest” in him.
In recent weeks, staying with Rabobank has seemed like Freire’s most likely option given that the Spaniard has said that he would like to race for one more year and have a final shot at the Worlds in Valkenburg, where the course should suit him. However, the latest update from Rabobank suggests that this weekend’s Paris-Tours, where Freire is the defending champion, may turn out to be his final pro race.
Peter Cossins has written about professional cycling since 1993 and is a contributing editor to Procycling. He is the author of The Monuments: The Grit and the Glory of Cycling's Greatest One-Day Races (Bloomsbury, March 2014) and has translated Christophe Bassons' autobiography, A Clean Break (Bloomsbury, July 2014).
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