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"First I'm just hoping I've got some form. Second I'm hoping for a stage win but I've got to get the form first, I've got to get to first base. Maybe it's good, who knows? It's so hard to tell. I never feel...

Photo: Sirotti








13.07.2014 @ 18:05 Posted by Joseph Doherty

Chris Horner has not been back from injury very long but he has been thrown into the Tour de France by his Lampre-Merida team to help leader Rui Costa as well as be a very able plan B should Costa fall out of GC contention.


"It's been a hard start to the Tour and for me mentally, it's been especially hard. You're fighting every day but me, I'm fighting for nothing. I know I'm not going to win the early stages and not be on the podium. But you've got to mentally stay in the game. And that's hard when you're not 100 percent."


"But I'm happy to be back racing. You can't do anything when you puncture your lung and have four broken ribs and I mean broken, not fractured. You've just got to let it all heal itself. So I went from zero to a few weeks of training and then to coming here.”


Horner is the second oldest rider in the Tour, only ex-Trek teammate Jens Voigt is older, and he will turn 43 in October. He has already proven himself over three weeks by winning last year’s Vuelta, becoming both the oldest ever Grand Tour winner as well as the oldest leader of a Grand Tour.


While his Lampre’s Plan B, his personal goal for the season is to defend his Vuelta title and he is only at the Tour to get more racing in his legs as well as helping Costa.


"First I'm just hoping I've got some form. Second I'm hoping for a stage win but I've got to get the form first, I've got to get to first base. Maybe it's good, who knows? It's so hard to tell. I never feel good in the first week in the Tour," he said.


"But I don’t really care. I'm going to give it a go and see. In bike racing, you don't need 100 percent form to win, you don't always need to be the best. We see people win stages thanks to lots of reasons. Think back to the guy from Cannondale (Daniele Ratto) who won the stage in the Pyrenees at the Vuelta last year. He's not a climber, he's probably one of poorest climbers in the bunch, but he had some luck, lots of determination and really wanted to suffer. That's what makes bike racing so special. You can be last overall in the GC but still win a stage if you get it right. I'm hoping for some of that luck and good fortune. I think I deserve it."


He also insists that he has the freedom t go for a stage victory if he feels up to it and that he is not shackled to helping Costa.

"I've got all the freedom I want with the team. I don’t have help but I've got freedom," he explained.


"Rui has the team there for him and possibly me there for him too later on. But for now I'm free to ride for myself. The mountains will determine if that changes. Rui looks really good so I wouldn't be surprised if I have to ride for him and that's not a problem. If I can’t play for the win, I'll be riding for him."




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