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Rabobank's mixed Tour de Suisse

Oscar Freire won a stage but couldn't defend his points jersey in the final stage.

Oscar Freire won a stage but couldn't defend his points jersey in the final stage. (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)

Team Rabobank finished the Tour de Suisse with a stage win and a tenth place overall on the plus side, but on the negative side, with only four riders and some worries for the near future. Oscar Freire won the mass sprint in the first stage, and Laurens ten Dam finished in the top ten, showing his good form for the upcoming Tour de France.

"A fine classification but the best thing is that Laurens becomes better on a daily basis," said Directeur Sportif Frans Maassen on the team's website, "He will be able to keep up with the pace in the mountains during the Tour and these are the kind of tough riders we need."

On the negative side, the team lost four riders along the way, three of them Tour candidates. Three-time World Champion Oscar Freire did not start the final stage due to calf problems. "Nothing to be worried about," Maassen said. "Perhaps we are missing out on an opportunity to win a stage, but it is more important what Oscar is going to do in the Tour later on, because right now I do not think we should fear that he is not going to start. Oscar was riding well here, but thought it would be better not to force anything. I think that is wise."

Sébastien Langeveld dropped out with knee problems, but has since recovered and is able to train pain-free. Russian Dmitriy Kozontchuk abandoned after the third stage (Monday) with an intestinal infection.

Perhaps the most worrying problem was Thomas Dekker – the team lists his reason for dropping out bluntly as "out of shape." The 23 year-old did not start the eighth stage, the mountain time trial, saying he was fatigued after a long spring season in which he had also had to deal with hip problems. He came down with the flu shortly before the Tour de Suisse as well. It was also unclear as to whether he would ride the Tour de France. That decision would be made together with the team management. He told that "we will sit down with each other and discuss what is best to do. I want to ride in the Tour, but not at any cost. On the other hand, I don't want to give up too soon, because I know that I will get better after the first week."(SW)

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