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"I need something like Catalunya or Basque Country, where it's climb after climb, then I can get better and better and the other guys get tired. When it's one climb all these guys can do it," Horner says

Photo: Sirotti






16.03.2014 @ 10:42 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

In his first big test for Lampre-Merida, Chris Horner showed signs of form when he finished 9th in yesterday's queen stage of Tirreno-Adriatico. The Vuelta champion was moderately satisfied with his performance but explained that he needs harder stages to really excel.


Chris Horner was a late addition to the Lampre-Merida roster but from the very start of the season, he has shown that he didn't skip his training during the uncertain times in the off-season when he was without a team. Yesterday he faced his first big test of 2014 in the Tirreno-Adriatico queen stage.


Horner was well-placed in the front group all the way to the final 500m where he failed to match the fierce accelerations by Alberto Contador, Nairo Quintana, and Daniel Moreno in the sprint. He rolled across the line in 9th, 11 seconds behind stage winner Contador to move into 11th on GC.


Horner explained that he needed a harder stage to really excel.


"To a normal person the last climb perhaps looks like a big climb but it's actually not that steep and we used the big chain ring for most of the way up," he told Cyclingnews. "The climb was really fast and a lot of guys are good on climb like that. There was a block headwind on much of the climb too. We were doing 25km/h and Quick Step had some riders there, so you'd need to do 35km/h to get away.


"I need something like Catalunya or Basque Country, where it's climb after climb, then I can get better and better and the other guys get tired. When it's one climb all these guys can do it.


"The form's okay and we'll see if we can make it better. I'll recover from this race and then hopefully get better. Let’s hope so."


Horner's teammate Diego Ulissi also performed well to take 13th, 14 seconds behind his teammate while the team's third leader, Damiano Cunego, could only manager 32nd.


"For most of the time, the climb was done at a very high speed and it was easy to follow wheels," sports director Orlando Maini said. "In these conditions, the selection was natural: those who did not keep up the pace, were cut off.


"Horner is very good at managing himself but he could not keep up in the end. He took a fine top 10 result and moved up in the GC. Ulissi has limited his losses while Cunego didn't have a good day."


You can read our preview of stage 5 here.



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