Rabobank will take on the Tour of Flanders without Milan-San Remo winner Oscar Freire, and their other Classics captain, Nick Nuyens is in doubt after crashing three times in the E3 Prijs Harelbeke last Saturday.
Freire adamantly refused to ride the Tour of Flanders, saying “I want to put everything on the Amstel Gold Race.” He has ridden Amstel nine times, finishing in the top ten four times. however he was only 64th last year.
“I regret that Oscar is not ride,” Directeur Sportif Erik Dekker told the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf. “Especially since two mountains have been removed from the finale. But when he gets something in his head, then he won't let it go. He thinks he has better chances to win at Valkenberg. At the Tour of Flanders, he is afraid of the Muur van Geraardsbergen."
Nick Nuyens is still suffering the after-effects of his three crashes during the E3 Prijs Vlaanderen - Harelbeke. The injuries to his right hip and calf are not as serious as the one to his sternum, which is still causing him breathing problems. “I tried to ride, but couldn't,” he said. “Hopefully it will get better day by day.”
Dekker said that the team would see how Nuyens is doing on Wednesday. “It is still questionable whether he can participate in the training rides as we explore the course. From there we will see whether he is fit to ride in the Tour of Flanders.”