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Freire will start, but no guarantees as to Tour prospects

Oscar Freire at the presentation

Oscar Freire at the presentation (Image credit: David Reinhardt)

By Shane Stokes in London

On Saturday morning, the Rabobank team spent some time riding hard on home trainers set up outside the team hotel beside London's ExCel centre. Denis Menchov, Michael Rasmussen and Thomas Dekker were some of those spinning out their legs before the afternoon prologue. However, one rider was missing; triple World Champion Oscar Freire.

As reported earlier this week, Freire has been suffering from a reoccurrence of the groin cyst, which plagued his 2005 season. He is the designated sprinter on the team and should be a contender for the green jersey, but was uncertain as to how far he would go in the race.

Rabobank's Theo de Rooy said that he is under pressure, but that he will ride the prologue. "Oscar will start, yes," he stated. "It is improving a bit. After the rides, it is at him again and then by the next day it is better, so it is improving. We will see how it goes."

Of course, there is a difference between training and racing, and so it is a very real possibility that the condition could deteriorate further once the race starts. He and the team will keep their fingers crossed that the affected area will heal. De Rooy said that Freire is very frustrated. "I think it is a little bit because of the responsibility and also the fear of maybe having to abandon after a few days or a week. It is a big burden to have."

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