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Freire signs with Rabobank

Spain's former two-time world champion Oscar Freire ended doubts over his future by agreeing to sign a two-year deal with the Dutch Rabobank team in The Hague on Monday. Despite his record of injuries, Freire is considered one of the most talented one-day riders in the pro ranks. After weeks of indecision, the Spaniard finally informed Rabobank officials of his decision, after they had issued an ultimatum. The 26-year-old former Mapei rider, the world road race champion in 1999 and 2001, is expected to help Rabobank in their quest for one-day classic titles. The team's general

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By VeloNews Interactive wire services, Copyright AFP2002

Spain’s former two-time world champion Oscar Freire ended doubts over his future by agreeing to sign a two-year deal with the Dutch Rabobank team in The Hague on Monday.

Despite his record of injuries, Freire is considered one of the most talented one-day riders in the pro ranks. After weeks of indecision, the Spaniard finally informed Rabobank officials of his decision, after they had issued an ultimatum.

The 26-year-old former Mapei rider, the world road race champion in 1999 and 2001, is expected to help Rabobank in their quest for one-day classic titles.

The team’s general manager Jan Raas said Monday that Freire’s decision, after some initial “dilly-dallying,” was final.

“Everything has officially been done and dusted between Freire and the team,” Rabobank’s Piet Hubert noted.

Freire leaves the hugely successful Italian Mapei squad as the team’s title sponsor is bringing its involvement with cycling to an end after almost a decade.

“Oscar is just the kind of rider we need. He has excellent sprinting qualities and is able to pull away from the pack in the final part of the race,” said Raas. “He is also very flexible and can ride all sorts of races.”

Freire failed to finish the Tour de France this year after a crash, although he initially planned to only ride half of the race in order to keep himself for the end of season classics and the world championship. Before crashing out of the Tour, Freire earned a stage win, beating such notables as green jersey winner Robbie McEwen of Australia and Germany’s six-time green jersey winner Erik Zabel.Copyright AFP2002