Rabobank 100% behind Freire

There are no surprises as far as Rabobank's tactics are concerned for Milan-San Remo, with the whole

There are no surprises as far as Rabobank's tactics are concerned for Milan-San Remo, with the whole
PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM Following his extremely convincing performance at Tirreno-Adriatico, Oscar Freire has established himself as the firm favourite for Milan-San Remo on Saturday. Freire's ability in the hills and blistering form have placed him marginally ahead of Alessandro Petacchi, who tied the Spaniard with three Tirreno stage wins, in the form guide. Petacchi's big advantage is the strength of his Fassa Bortolo team, which is totally committed to setting the Italian up for a final winning sprint on San Remo's Via Roma, but the power of Freire's Rabobank team should not be doubted either. "We will all work 100% for Oscar," Rabobank team manager Theo de Rooij told AS yesterday. "We've got a good chance with him, it's not certain, but he's certainly going to have priority over the rest of the team. He is in superb form. I've only seen him this good once before, and that was before the Worlds last year." De Rooij confirmed that Rabobank stalwart Erik Dekker is set to act as sentinel for Freire on the climbs leading into San Remo. "Erik will be ready for the attacks that the likes of Bettini, Vinokourov and others will no doubt make on the Cipressa and Poggio. But you also have to remember that last year it was Dekker who got Freire on to Zabel's wheel from where he ended up winning the race." So another busy day for Dekker on Saturday it seems. Unlike Petacchi, who has yet to win a major Classic or one-day event and has shown nerves in the past, De Rooij is not worried about the pressure on Freire. "He has shown many times in the past that he can deal with it. But I think Petacchi is at the same level as Oscar in terms of favourite status. Boonen, Cipollini and the rest are another step down from them. 'Petacchi lost San Remo and Paris-Tours last year because of a lack of physical condition in the final kilometres. But it looks like he has dealt with this failing and improved himself. We will see in the final straight on Saturday whether Petacchi is a more complete rider."
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