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"Obviously at my age it's difficult because nobody wants an older guy," Christopher Horner said.. "I'm six or seven years passed the expiration date. I have to fight against that." 

Photo: Sirotti

CHRISTOPHER HORNER

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17.09.2014 @ 16:20 Posted by Aleksandra Górska

Just as it was a case exactly a year ago, Christopher Horner starts to look  for a team to ride with in the upcoming season just after the year’s ultimate three-week event has been concluded. The 42-year old American doesn’t have a victory in Vuelta a Espana on his side this time around as he was hampered by injuries and illness, but still believes that Lampre-Merida will extend his contract for at least one year.

 

"No contract, nothing is done yet," Horner told Cyclingnews. "Everything is open for next year and we'll see what happens. I haven't signed anything yet for next year. It's stressful to a degree because it's always nice to have things lined up, especially at my age."

 

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.

 

"I would like to do another year, maybe two, we'll see how it goes," said Horner, who believes that his age, not his capability, is the main reason he doesn't have a finalized contract yet.

 

"Obviously at my age it's difficult because nobody wants an older guy," he said. "I'm six or seven years passed the expiration date. I have to fight against that. I don't think age should matter but obviously it does because if it didn't I'd have 20 teams wanting to sign me because I'm a Grand Tour winner, instead of just a few."

 

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.

 

"I'm tired and I've been going since January," Horner said. "The only real time that I had off the bike was in the emergency room after being hit in the tunnel. I feel 100 percent better from the crash."

 

"Not racing the Vuelta was a bummer, but I had bronchitis," Horner said. "I'm still recovering a bit. I think I have to take time off and actually stop training. It's hard to heal from bronchitis when you're training, racing and traveling all the time."

 

Because of those circumstances, Horner couldn’t post many respectable results this season, but he still believes that Lampre will expend his contract for at least one year after they confirm their budget for 2015.

 

"Grand Tours are always what I aspire to do, and do well in," Horner said. "They're the best events for me. They're where all the big powerful guys can't handle the climbs the way that I do.

 

"It becomes easier for me to target the Grand Tours because the really strong guys get tired there. I recover well there and the climbing stages are better for me."

 

"This team [Lampre-Merida] is still working on their budget," he said. "Except for Rui Costa, most of the other guys haven't signed yet."

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