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“That we’ll have to see closer to the time but if we can go there with two cards to play between him and Rui on GC, that would be the ideal situation," Copeland says

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CHRISTOPHER HORNER

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05.06.2014 @ 13:36 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

After his dramatic training crash that caused him to miss the Giro d'Italia, Chris Horner is now back in training and the American has set his sights on a return to the Tour de France. If everything goes according to plan, the American will line up as co-leader with Rui Costa and will target the overall standings.

 

When he signed a contract with Lampre-Merida, Rui Costa was set to be the undisputed leader of the Italian team at the Tour de France. However, a change of circumstances may now force the world champion to share the captaincy role with Vuelta champion Chris Horner.

 

Horner was a late signing for the team and was originally scheduled to do the Giro d'Italia before concentrating on his title defence in the Vuelta. However, the American was hit by a car in April and suffered a punctured lung in the accident along with broken ribs and a cut to his head, ruling him it of of the Italian grand tour.

 

Horner is now training well in Italy and has now set his sights on the Tour de France. Team manager Brent Copeland confirms that the veteran is likely to share the leadership role with Costa.

 

“That we’ll have to see closer to the time but if we can go there with two cards to play between him and Rui on GC, that would be the ideal situation," he told Cyclingnews. "If he can get the condition that he had at the Vuelta last year then he’s a GC rider, definitely. Everything depends on his condition before we give him the final role as at the moment we’re talking in ideal scenarios."

 

The team had considered a start in the Tour de Suisse for Horner but due to the risk of crashing on his partially healed ribs, the team has decided to skip the Swiss race and postpone his return to the Tour of Slovenia.

 

“We’re not going to have him do Suisse. There will be good weather in Italy and he has a good training programme ahead of him so we’d prefer him to recover completely,” Copeland said.

 

“Then he could do Slovenia, so then he would at least have four days of racing in his legs before he goes to the Tour de France. That could be a good option but he’s training well and looking good. We’re really pleased with how he’s coming along. His recovery has been amazing.”

 

For Horner, however, the biggest goal is the Vuelta.

 

“Yes, absolutely," he told Peloton Magazine in a recent interview. "I don’t think my accident will have an effect on the Vuelta this year. I’m not worried about it. The immediate thing is I’d like to get back to racing as soon as I can.

 

"If I can get back to the Tour, good. If I can get back to some racing before that it’d be even better. I’m already set to do Utah and the Vuelta, which is clearly far enough out that there would be no issue there. And actually my sense sitting on the phone with you right now is that I should be able to ride in the Tour de France 100%.”

 

Copeland confirmed that the team would like to keep Horner on the roster and the American would be pleased to prolong his racig career.

 

“You have to ride good in order to renew your contract," he said. "That’s basic knowledge. Clearly I’ve enjoyed the time with the team, and the team has treated me very well, so it’s a nice place to stay and a nice place to renew. I can’t speak for the team at this point, and of course just five weeks ago I was sitting in the emergency room. Right now it’s more about getting back to bike racing than worrying about what’s going on next year.

“I’d like to keep racing my bike. Of course you need to know you have the results. I just need to go into the next races and ride well and work out contract details later.”

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