Oscar Freire March 2010

Milan-San Remo winner Oscar Freire decided it is best to skip the Giro d'Italia, starting in Amsterdam Saturday. The Spaniard of team Rabobank is suffering from respiratory problems.

"I thought it was an allergy, but all the tests done were negative," Freire told Italian paper La Gazzetta dello Sport. "From the resonance it appeared as a sinus inflammation. I have no pain, but I can not breathe properly."

Freire has never raced the Giro d'Italia despite being one of cycling's most successful sprinters. The 34-year-old has won four stages of the Tour de France, seven of the Vuelta a España and three editions each of the World Championships and Milan-San Remo.

Rabobank will also be without Dutchman Koos Moerenhout, who is also suffering from respiratory problems. In their places will race Dutchmen Steven Kruijswijk and Tom Stamsnijder.

Starting in its home country, Rabobank will race with a tricolour Italian band on its jersey and the logo of Right to Play.

Related links

Giro d'Italia 2010: Cycling Weekly's coverage index

2010 Giro d'Italia coverage in association with Zipvit

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Gregor Brown is an experienced cycling journalist, based in Florence, Italy. He has covered races all over the world for over a decade - following the Giro, Tour de France, and every major race since 2006. His love of cycling began with freestyle and BMX, before the 1998 Tour de France led him to a deep appreciation of the road racing season.