Freire to continue into 2011

Rabobank sprinter Oscar Freire has decided that if all goes well this season he will not retire at the end of 2010 as he had previously stated. Instead, the Spaniard, who will turn 34 in mid-February, will continue for another season with Rabobank, with whom he has spent the past seven seasons.

Asked by Spanish website Biciciclismo whether or not he had decided on his plans for retirement, Freire responded: "I’ve more or less taken a decision… I would like to continue in 2011. The aim is to do well this year and, if that’s achieved, then to continue… if I have a good offer from the team. Doing two more years until 2012 I see as more complicated, but another year [after this] is more certain."

He also confirmed he would like to stay with Rabobank. "I know the team, it’s good and well organised. I feel very comfortable here. At the moment there are few others that fulfil these criteria. On a sporting level, it may be that there are more interesting teams out there, but if you take everything together it would be difficult to find better than this team."

Freire also revealed a significant change to his calendar for this season. "The difference this year compared to others is the Giro [d'Italia], which I have never ridden before. As it starts in Holland, the team was interested in me riding it… I think that it will suit my characteristics. The finishes are difficult and it is more complicated for teams to control the race, which should give me more opportunities. It would be good to win a stage there."

With the Tour and northern Classics set to stay on his programme, three-time World champion Freire confirmed that he won’t follow his usual route into the Worlds via the Vuelta a España. "I will do an alternative calendar to prepare for the Worlds. In other years I’ve not ridden the Vuelta and it suited me well. I don’t think there’s any problem with this."

Freire will join up with his Rabobank teammates for their pre-season training camp in Almería in southern Spain next week.

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