Vuelta a España winner Chris Horner, who will be honored at the Endurance Live awards gala this weekend in San Diego, appeared on Competitor Radio Sunday night to discuss his new contract with Lampre-Merida and his 2013 Vuelta win.
Horner reflected on the knee injury that kept him out of racing for four months in 2013, and his recovery, including details of his surgery to correct an IT Band issue. The affable American also looked back on a hair-raising experience at the London Olympics that saw him suffer a concussion, nearly crash into a mechanic’s door, and crack — on his way to the airport.
“It was really hard. July was the most difficult part of it,” Horner told host Bob Babbitt. “But at my age, I still want to go out and race.”
According to Horner, he only received full team support during his Vuelta campaign after his stage 10 victory. His two stage wins — and the overall — did not deliver a contract for the then-41-year-old.
“When I won stage 10, I thought, ‘this is golden, we’ll have a contract in a matter of hours or days at the most,’” said Horner. When the end of the year approached with no deal signed, the American considered taking on work outside of the peloton, including television commentary. He held out until January, when he was able to land the Lampre deal.
“January became stressful. … Before that, I definitely thought that I would have a team to ride for,” said Horner. “But in January, I really started to have my doubts.”