Freire and Rabobank set to split?

Oscar Freire (Rabobank) speaks to the press before the start.

Oscar Freire (Rabobank) speaks to the press before the start. (Image credit: Susi Goetze for

Three-time world champion Oscar Freire is reported to be negotiating a one-year contract with four ProTeam squads including his current employers, Rabobank, with whom he has spent the last nine seasons. However, according to one report in Spain, it will be "a surprise" if Freire, who is planning to retire at the end of the 2012 season, opts to spend the last year of his career with Rabobank.

Freire's brother and agent, Antonio, has revealed that Movistar is one of the other teams interested in signing the veteran sprinter. "We would like for Oscar to ride on a Spanish team, we've always said that, and Movistar is the best Spanish team around," Antonio Freire told "It's an historic squad and we've got a good relationship with the managers there."

Asked about the possibility of completing a deal with Rabobank, Antonio Freire stated: "It's one option, but it's not the best from either a sporting or a financial point of view." He suggested that relations between the Freires and Rabobank have cooled and added that he expects to close a deal with his brother's new team within the next few days.

During his 14-year pro career, Freire has only spent two with a Spanish team. He turned pro in 1998 with Vitalicio Seguros and was still with them when he won the world title for the first time the following season. He then spent three seasons with Mapei before moving on to Rabobank in 2003.

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