MADRID (VN) — A report on a Spanish website has linked Vuelta a España winner Chris Horner to Caja Rural.
Ciclo21.com reports that the U.S. distributor of bike sponsor Vivelo reached out to Horner directly to inquire about signing the 42-year-old to the Spanish Pro Continental team for 2014.
According to the proposed deal, Vivelo would cover Horner’s entire salary.
If a deal is hammered out, Caja Rural would give Horner at least a start in the Vuelta and perhaps the Giro d’Italia. The Spanish outfit has become the second most important team in Spain behind Movistar, has raced the past two editions of the Vuelta, and is hoping to race in this year’s Giro as well.
Horner, 42, has been looking for a ride since winning the Vuelta last year to become the oldest grand tour champion in history. After he was unable to find a new contract, Horner dropped longtime agent Michael Rutherford to sign with ex-pro Baden Cooke.
Cooke had been in discussions with Christina Watches, a Danish team, but the deal fell through Sunday night.
“After discussions with Chris Horner and his new agent Baden Cooke, on Sunday night our attempts to sign Chris Horner failed despite our best efforts,” Christina Watches said in a press release. “Without having a grand tour in our race program it was always going to be a difficult decision for Chris to make, we fully understand his decision and hope he can find a sponsor who can support his wish to defend his Vuelta title.”
Cooke said the absence of a grand tour on the team’s 2014 race schedule was the deciding factor.
“We explored this option seriously and with the best intentions,” Cooke told the squad. “Chris, however, has decided that he will not take you up on the offer. His desire to defend the Vuelta title being the main reason.”
Caja Rural has grown steadily over the years and now boasts a quality lineup, including such riders as David Arroyo, Luis León Sánchez, and Amets Txurruka.