Maybe this should not come as a surprise. Chris Horner is keeping it cool as fall turns to winter, and he’s yet to find a ride for the upcoming season, even fresh off winning the red jersey at the Vuelta a España.
Want proof? Here’s a recent e-mail exchange with the 41-year-old Horner, the oldest grand tour winner in history.
VeloNews: What’s the team situation for you? Any news?
Chris Horner: Hey,
VN: Are you starting to worry? Not yet?
Horner: Nope. … One year I signed in December.
What, Horner worry? If he is, he’s not letting on. Horner has ridden under the RadioShack flag since 2010, winning such races as the Amgen Tour of California, the Vuelta, and the Vuelta al Pais Vasco (Tour of the Basque Country). RadioShack-Leopard, which will turn into the Trek team for next season, has not re-signed the American and has already filled its roster with climbers.
Horner will likely demand a high salary in addition to his age, which some teams could see as a concern. Couple that with the complex transfer season this year that’s seen budgets crunch and teams drop, and it would be fair to say that most riders would be panicked by this time. Horner, though, is as analytical as ever about his place in the peloton. Did he just achieve his best-ever result over absolute competition, such as Astana’s Vincenzo Nibali? Yes. Is all of this coming at a strange time? Yes. What else?
“Winning Spain in September doesn’t help teams who have spent their budget already. And this year is not a good year to be on the market,” Horner said. “Your UCI points mean nothing in deciding which teams go pro tour or not.”
Finding the right team now at the right price will certainly be a challenge, though certainly not impossible for a climber of Horner’s ability. Asked if there’s anywhere he’d like to ride next season in particular, Horner only had one criteria: “A pro tour team so that I can do all the big races,” he wrote. “Which one does not really matter so much because I’m used to adapting.”
Horner turns 42 next week.