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“We signed in February last year but honestly we’re hoping to have something in place by the end of the month. I’m knocking on every door,” Christopher Horner's agent Baden Cooke said.

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BADEN COOKE

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CHRISTOPHER HORNER

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GERT STEEGMANS

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JANEZ BRAJKOVIC

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UAE TEAM EMIRATES

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16.10.2014 @ 17:19 Posted by Aleksandra Górska

Christopher Horner’s situation at Lampre-Merida hasn’t changed significantly since we informed about it for the first time over a month ago, what means that Italian squad manager still cannot give a clear answer on whether they would like to keep the 42-year old American on board. In such circumstances, rider’s agent and former team-mate Baden Cooke has redirected his efforts to secure his future in professional cycling with another squad. Reportedly, the Australian is negotiating with one WorldTour and Pro Continental outfit, but still not ruling out the possibility that Horner will stay at Lampre.

 

“We’re talking with two other teams and we’re hopeful of finding him a home. We’re talking to another WorldTour and Pro Continental team but that’s all I can tell you at the moment,” Cooke told Cyclingnews

 

“We signed in February last year but honestly we’re hoping to have something in place by the end of the month. I’m knocking on every door.”

 

Horner didn’t manage to find a new team until the end of 2013 season despite his victory in the Spanish Grand Tour and only a tremendous work done by his agent and former team-mate Baden Cooke encouraged Lampre-Merida to throw an American a lifeline.

 

As a history seems to repeat itself, the 42-year old former Vuelta a Espana champion claims that his age is the only reason why he – the Grand Tour winner – struggles so badly to find a team to continue his professional career with. It seems, however, that signing a contract with the American is a big risk for any team and his too well documented history of injuries which prevented him from performing accordingly to his capabilities might be the real reason.

 

The 2014 season wasn’t different for Horner in this respect. The 42-year old American was forced to withdraw from several events because of achilles tendon injury before a dangerous training crash with a car forced his out of the Giro d’Italia. The former Vuelta a Espana champion recovered quickly enough to make it back for the Tour de France where his performances were hampered by bronchitis. To make things worse, a medication prescribed by Lampre-Merida team doctor pushed his cortisol levels below norms accepted by the Mouvement Pour un Cyclisme Credible (MPCC) and the Italian squad was forced to withdraw his participation in the Vuelta, where he was due to defend his 2013 title.

 

The 42-year old American emphasized few weeks ago that staying in the Italian outfit for one more season would be his first choice option, but there has been no progress in his negotiations with his current squad since the beginning of October.

 

“I’ve not spoken to Lampre in the last few days but they’ve not said no so things are ongoing there too,” he added. 

 

As the WorldTour applicants, Lampre-Merida has to provide the UCI with 23 contracts signed for 2015 season, but Italian squad reached that number without extending Horner’s deal and their manager, Brent Copeland admitted that his chances of staying in the blue-fuchsia outfit are still 50-50.

 

“We’re still sitting in the same place as we were a few weeks ago. We need to send in 23 contracts with the UCI for Monday and we have them sorted. Chris isn’t one of those. We will know more about the situation with Chris by the end of October. It’s still 50-50 but my personal opinion is that he deserves another season.” 

 

While Cooke remains hopeful of securing Horner’s future by the end of October, he has two other riders without contracts for 2015 to care about: Janez Brajkovic and Gert Steegmans.

“It’s a tough situation because with the Alonso team not coming about there’s some extremely good guys on the market. Steegmans and Brajkovic are with me and they’re still looking for contracts as well. I’m pretty hopefully we’ll have something for them as well.” 

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