Freire still not in training

Operated on six weeks ago, world champion Oscar Freire is still not back in full training and is now

Operated on six weeks ago, world champion Oscar Freire is still not back in full training and is now

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Having already missed the Tour de France following an operation to remove a benign tumour from his pelvic bone, world champion Oscar Freire is now contemplating missing both the Vuelta and the defence of his rainbow jersey on home soil in Madrid because he has been unable to train since the op on June 15.

"The wound seems to have healed up and I can live a normal life. The problem is that it discomforts me when I get on the bike," the Rabobank rider told AS. "Yesterday I tried to train and, although I noticed an improvement, I am not happy in the saddle. I have got no idea when I will be able to get into full training."

Freire has almost given up on being fit for the start of the Vuelta on August 27. "Without being in training now it is impossible for me to be competitive for a three-week race. In any case, it would be more logical to do specific training and ride an event in Italy to prepare for the Worlds [on September 25]."

Freire said that his form at the moment was such that it is almost like starting again from scratch as he does each winter. Apart from four very uncomfortable stages at the Tour of Switzerland in June, his last race was at the end of April.

Freire also expressed some criticism of the Worlds circuit in Madrid, saying that he did not think it was hard enough. "I would have preferred something a bit tougher, although the key thing now is to get there and in the best possible condition," the Spaniard said.

Freire, though, added that the latest setback has not demoralised him simply because he has been affected by injury and illness so often in the past. "I'm accustomed to it, I have had to learn to live with these setbacks. If I hadn't had to rest during my second pro season, when I had a much worse problem, I would perhaps not have won my first world title. But if I can't ride again this season then I will start thinking about the next."

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