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“I am sure that plenty of US teams would love to have him if they could come up with the money. We are not one of those teams and we have zero interest.”

Photo: Sirotti






08.11.2014 @ 11:51 Posted by Joseph Doherty

The number of teams who are saying they don not have room for 2013 Vuelta a Espana winner Chris Horner is growing. told a story where it was confirmed that both Jelly Belly and Jamis-Hagens Berman said they were not interested, didn’t have the finances or the space to hire the beteran American. Now we can add UnitedHealthcare, Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies and MTN-Qhubeka to the list of teams who cant sign Horner for some reason or another.


“We are not in communication with Horner about joining the team,” UnitedHealthcare press officer Bryson Ross said when CyclingTips contacted the team. “We’ve completed our 2015 men’s roster and will be announcing it in the coming days.”


“Chris is a great bike racer and I wish him all the best,” he added.


“I have known Chris for 20 years,” Optum performance director Jonas Carney said to CyclingTips. “He is a nice guy and a very accomplished cyclist who would instantly put any US team in GC contention at events like California, Colorado, and Utah."


“I am sure that plenty of US teams would love to have him if they could come up with the money. We are not one of those teams and we have zero interest.”


Horner’s agent Baden Cooke said he was talking to a European-based ProContinental team as well as some American teams. Many wondered if MTN-Qhubeka would take him on, but Brian Smith, the general manager, confirmed to CyclngTips that his squad doesn’t have a spot remaining for Horner.


“The thing is, I want to develop the African talent in the climbs and the stage races,” Smith said. “I think that is our future, these young guys. We have brought in the Classics guys because the guys we have got like Kudus and Meintjes aren’t down for the Classics.”


“The three main areas we are going to concentrate on is the Classics with the guy that I’ve brought in, and two Grand Tours with the Tour and the Vuelta,” he said.


“To bring someone like Horner on, where would he fit into the team? They [the riders] wouldn’t go into the stage race looking at the overall classification. We are looking at riders who want to try to win a stage, or like Serge Pauwels, to help the climber guys, to be with them and say ‘go now,’ that sort of thing."


“That is our philosophy anyway. I just don’t think Chris would fit into that strategy.”




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