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“Hopefully that doesn’t affect the contract talks for next year,” Horner said. “Clearly, it’s going to come into play sooner or later. I’ve heard nothing negative from the team about this.”

Photo: Sirotti




26.08.2014 @ 16:07 Posted by Aleksandra Górska

Despite being forced out of the Vuelta a Espana due to abnormal cotrisol levels, Christopher Horner remains optimistic about his contract extension with Lampre-Merida and claims that considering all circumstances, he have had an exceptional season.


The climbing-heavy Vuelta was obviously the biggest objective for last year’s champion after a training crash forced him out of the Giro d’Italia, but Lampre-Marida was forced to leave Horner out of their roster for the Spanish three-week event after treatment for a chest infection pushed his cortisol levels below the acceptable standard.


Earlier this year, the 42-year old American didn’t have many opportunities to prove his worth for the Italian team, which decided to throw him a lifeline and offered a one-year contract when he struggled to find a team to continue his professional career with. Horner was supposed to share leadership with Przemysław Niemiec at the Giro d’Italia, but suffered a dangerous accident with a car during a training ride shortly before the Italian Grand Tour kicked off. Left with punctured lung and broken ribs among other, minor injuries, the Vuelta a


Espana champion wasn’t expected to return to competition any time soon, but made a truly speedy recovery to line-up at the Tour de France, surprising both himself and Lampre-Merida with his good condition. Even though his campaign in France was somewhat hampered by nagging chest infection, the 42-year old climber has shown further improvement at the Tour of Utah and everything suggested he would be ready for his title defense at the Vuelta before the Italian squad was forced to withdraw his participation.


Not only because of his age, but injuries with hampered his performances throughout whole professional career, Horner struggled so hard to find a team for 2014 season. The history of recent few months proved that hiring the American climber is a huge gamble for any cycling team, but the rider remains optimistic about upcoming contract negotiations with Lampre.


“Hopefully that doesn’t affect the contract talks for next year,” Horner said. “Clearly, it’s going to come into play sooner or later. This team has looked out for me. I hope they understand. I’ve heard nothing negative from the team about this.”


“I think I am having an exceptional year, under the conditions with the accident. I think I did an amazing Tour considering I was sick, and where I had come from. Utah went well, we were second and third, [and won the] team classification,” Horner told VeloNews. “I think the team knows what I bring.”


“This is a small step back, another hit of the chin, with my luck. I don’t regret any decision I made. I stand behind every decision I made 100 percent,” Horner said. “If I could do it all over again, I would have made the same choices.”


The Lampre-Merida manager Brent Copeland was slightly reluctant to give clear answers in regards to Horner’s future, but admitted that the 42-year old American was an important addition to the Italian squad and that they’re about to discuss eventual contract extension after the Vuelta.


“Chris has been a great addition to the team this year. He is not only always ready to race, but he brings a good attitude to everyone on the team,” Copeland said. “We invested a lot in Chris to bring him here this season. We will be talking about trying to work something out.”



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