The saga of Oscar Freire’s plans for 2012 has taken another turn with his brother and manager, Antonio, insisting that the three-time world champion is not about to retire and does want to compete for one more season. Antonio Freire told Biciciclismo that negotiations with Rabobank ended due to a “misunderstanding” on the part of the Dutch team, who revealed yesterday [Wednesday] that they had withdrawn their offer to the Spaniard as a result of Freire’s suggestion to them that he was set to retire with immediate effect.
According to Antonio Freire, his brother has taken “a firm decision” to continue racing next season with a view to taking part in the Olympics and having a final shot at the Worlds. Antonio Freire confirmed that there is no longer an offer on the table from Rabobank, with whom Oscar Freire has raced since 2003.
Before the world championships last month, it was rumoured that Freire would only continue racing in 2012 if he was to win the rainbow jersey. On the eve of the race in Copenhagen, however, he told Cyclingnews that he would continue his career next season regardless of the result. The Spaniard went on to finish ninth in the Worlds behind Mark Cavendish having misjudged the final sprint.
Antonio Freire said that he is hoping to talk to Rabobank team manager Erik Breukink in the coming days to assess whether there is still any interest on the part of the Dutch team in re-signing Freire. He added that if there is no interest from Rabobank, he will then approach other teams that had previously expressed an interest in signing the veteran sprinter.
Movistar and Geox-TMC are likely to be top of that list given that both outfits have already made tentative offers to Freire. Geox may be particularly attracted given Freire’s WorldTour ranking points and their determination to secure WorldTour status in 2012.
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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