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"We have a small chance left [with a European team] and then if that doesn't happen he's probably going to go to an American team," Cooke said. "There's probably more chance of him returning to the US."

Photo: Sirotti

BADEN COOKE

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CHRISTOPHER HORNER

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UAE TEAM EMIRATES

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06.11.2014 @ 08:02 Posted by Aleksandra Górska

While Lampre-Merida manager Brent Copeland was eventually forced to bend under the pressure created by the sponsors and let Christopher Horner go, rider’s agent Baden Cooke confesses that despite working hard on several possibilities there’s a little chance for the 43-year veteran old to stay in Europe.

 

Cooke had replaced previous agent of the American veteran last December and managed to save his professional career at a very last minute, closing a one-year deal with Lampre. The former Australian professional is not convinced, though, whether he will be able to work this kind of miracle again this year.

 

Two weeks ago Horner’s agent claimed that he had been working on several other possibilities while a situation with the Italian squad hadn’t been clear, but at the moment it seems rather unlikely that the American will stay in Europe.

 

"It's a big shame because despite the fact that he's old, he's still stronger than 95 per cent of the peloton. A lot of people also forget that he was hit by a car this year, otherwise we probably would have seen him top five in the Giro d'Italia," Cooke told Cyclingnews from his base in Australia.

 

"We have a small chance left [with a European team] and then if that doesn't happen he's probably going to go to an American team.

 

"There's not a massive chance, I'll tell you that much [with the European team]. There's probably more chance of him returning to the US."

 

"If he ends up in the States then he'll show them when he turns out at the Tour of Utah, California and Colorado and is a force to be reckoned with."

 

A Polish Pro Continental team CCC Polsat Polkowice was rumoured but quickly turned down such suggestions, as did the American squad Jelly Belly.

 

Commenting on the situation with Lampre, Cooke admitted that he was aware of team’s manager best intentions, but in the end he hasn’t expected a different outcome.

 

"I know that Brent Copeland did his best to keep Chris on board and he knows how valuable a rider Chris is and made a push for him. It's perhaps a little bit short-sighted on their part in the fact that he was crushed by a car and they should have taken into account that regardless of results he has such a great impact on the younger riders. I think it's going to be their loss but that's their choice. I think Brent did everything he could but it was out of his hands. I'm pretty disappointed."

 

Just like Copeland, the former Australian professional emphasized that in his own opinion that despite his advanced age the 43-year old American remains one of the strongest Grand Tour contenders in the professional peloton.

 

"He's coming up to 43 but you can ignore that because he can still do top ten in Grand Tours. Chris isn't complaining though, he's grateful for the chance Lampre gave him last year but he still has the motivation of a 15-year-old and who is to stop him?"

 

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