Thomas Frei relished his time with the Christina Watches-Onfone team this year after returning from a positive test for EPO in 2010. However, a broken hip sustained at the recent Tour of China ended his season prematurely and now it appears contract negotiations have broken down with the team part owned by Michael Rasmussen.
The Swiss rider finished second at the Swiss time trial championships in June, finishing 1:54 behind RadioShack-Nissan’s Fabian Cancellara. Frei had previously said he would have continued to dope if he wasn’t caught citing the potential financial rewards for cheating. Now it seems the 27-year-old has learned his lesson while his future in the sport remains uncertain.
"The performance [at the Swiss TT Championships] gives me confidence that I worked hard during my suspension," Frei said to Radsport-news.
His crash during stage 4 at Tour of China I in August meant he could not finish the race and returned home to undergo surgery.
"Unfortunately, I watched a podium finish at a 2.1 tour slip through the cracks. I stood at the start with excellent shape but after the trip - until I had surgery - it was not easy. When I look back, I find that everything before very unreal, what I had been through," he said.
With Frei focused on rehabilitation, he added that finding a suitable contract for next season wasn’t a huge concern. He may remain at his current Christina Watches team but it appears the former BMC and Astana rider will find a new home in 2013.
"I was offered a new contract in July and the offer was maintained even after my hip fracture. But I have noticed in the negotiations that we have different ideas," explained Frei.
"I am searching but feel no pressure. The main thing was just that the healing is going well and I'm getting stronger. I think and hope that I will have more clarity in the next two to three weeks."