Will American Chris Horner continue next season with the team that supported him in his victorious Vuelta a España ride?
Trek Bicycles hopes to know the answer to that question sometime this week. The American bicycle brand will take over the RadioShack-Leopard squad as the title sponsor and owner next year. As of right now, the 41-year-old Horner does not have a contract for next year.
“Discussions are ongoing with Chris and his management. Luca [Guercilena, general manager] has kept him focused on the Vuelta to ensure he gets the best result, which he has done,” said Michael Mayer, the road brand manager for Trek. “We expect to know this week if the best fit for Chris will be with the Trek team or elsewhere.”
There was plenty of buzz regarding Horner on Monday. He was the oldest grand tour winner in history, and the first American to win a grand tour since Greg LeMond (discounting Lance Armstrong’s and Floyd Landis’ stripped Tour de France titles). But there was confusion between drug testers and Horner, and his missed test made headlines. The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency cleared Horner of wrongdoing later on Monday.
Based in Waterloo, Wisconsin, Trek purchased the squad from Leopard SA, owned by Luxembourger Flavio Becca, who formed the team ahead of the 2011 season. With three general managers in Brian Nygaard, Johan Bruyneel, and Guercilena, the team has raced under three different names in three years: Leopard-Trek, RadioShack-Nissan, and RadioShack-Leopard.
Trek has already named classics man Fabian Cancellara and veteran Jens Voigt to its new-look team, and Fränk and Andy Schleck, among others. Trek confirmed the signing of American Matthew Busche, a key domestique for Horner at the Vuelta, earlier this month. Where Horner, the latest, and eldest, grand tour winner will land remains to be seen.