Three-times World Champion Oscar Freire has signed for Katusha in 2012, Spanish press reports said on Thursday. The deal guarantees the country's top Classics rider another year in the peloton.
Freire, 35, was said to be considering retirement after a year in which he has failed to shine, in part because of illness and injuries. He was then unable to reach an agreement with his longstanding team, Rabobank.
Written off by many on countless occasions in the past, the Spaniard has always bounced back: in 2010 he was supposedly well past his sell-by date, but ended up being the only rider to take two major Classics in the same year - Paris-Tours and, for a third time, Milan - San Remo.
This year has been one of Freire's least successful, with just two stage wins in the early season Tour of Andalusia. Sidelined from this year's Tour de France at his own request, he then abandoned the Tour of Spain before miscalculating his sprint in the World Championships and finishing ninth.
At Katusha, Freire will be one of just two sprinters, the other being the talented young Roman Galimzymov, recently a winner of a stage in the Tour of Beijing.
For the final season of a career stretching back to 1998, Freire will have two big targets: the Olympic road-race in London and the world championships in the Netherlands where he will go for a record-breaking fourth title. A win in either would be the perfect way to sign off Freire's fifteen-year career.
Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
Founded in 1891, Cycling Weekly and its team of expert journalists brings cyclists in-depth reviews, extensive coverage of both professional and domestic racing, as well as fitness advice and 'brew a cuppa and put your feet up' features. Cycling Weekly serves its audience across a range of platforms, from good old-fashioned print to online journalism, and video.
David Millar: Why Mark Cavendish deserves to be at the Tour de France
Cav has bridged generations in a way no one else could, he shows what's possible
By David Millar • Published
Young and talented: Meet the seven Americans racing Le Tour
Young and talented: Meet the seven American bike racers ringing Le Tour de France in 2022.
By Marshall Opel • Published