Oscar Freire has extended his contract with Rabobank through the end of 2011, saying he would probably end his career with the Dutch team.
The former world champion's contract was due to expire at the end of this year and despite his brother and manager Antonio seeking a two-year extension, the triple Milan-San Remo champion decided one more season was adequate.
“Just one year more, then I would prefer it to be at Rabobank. Chances are that it is my last year,” Freire said.
“For us, the choice was not difficult when Oscar said he would go another year,” said technical director Erik Breukink. "You would be crazy to let a rider of such calibre go.”
The Spaniard thinks that 2011 will see the end of his career. “I'm still physically able. Mentally, too. But whether I can muster the mental strength for another year after 2011? I doubt it. “
Freire, 34, joined the Dutch team in 2003. He won the last of his three World road titles while with the team, as well as winning Milan-San Remo three times, the green jersey in the Tour de France, and stages in both the Tour and the Vuelta a Espana, amongst many other wins.
His season he has six wins, including Milan-San Remo. He missed the Giro d'Italia due to a sinus infection, but is scheduled to ride the Tour de Suisse, as well as the Tour de France.
Spaniard feels “at home” with Dutch team
Freire will be happy to be with Rabobank until the end of his career. “This is my team,” he said. “I am very happy. The people know me well and vice versa is also true. I have felt at home at Rabobank from day one in 2003 and that's still true. The loyalty of the team to me has always been great. And there is a very stable sponsor. Should you go? No, not really. "
"It always felt good with Rabobank and it still feels good. I know the team, the team leaders, the riders and coaches. It would make no sense to start over new again, and perhaps for only one year,” Freire said. “
“I think cycling is still great fun. My main objective for 2011 is that I really want to do well. Going for one hundred percent and not a farewell tour.”