Chris Horner ambitious heading towards 2012, is looking for big year
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Friday, November 18, 2011

Chris Horner ambitious heading towards 2012, is looking for big year

by VeloNation Press at 7:12 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
American rider chasing wins throughout the season

Chris HornerSet to compete with the Leopard-Trek structure in 2012, albeit under RadioShack-Nissan title sponsorship, American rider Chris Horner is thinking with big ambition about the races on his programme.

The 2011 Tour of California victor hopes to successfully defend his title but, rather than focussing completely on one or two events, he wants to be going well and racing strongly at different points of the season.

“Of course California and the Tour de France are the two biggest, but there are more goals,” he said in an interview on the RadioShack website, marking his Most Impressive Performance award in the Fans’ Choice voting. “The races I pick throughout the season - it's important for me to win somewhere. If I do Paris-Nice, Catalunya, Basque, Cali, Suisse, Tour de France, I'll be happy if wins come from any of those races. They're all great and important.”

Horner’s strong 2011 season saw him win on the uphill finish at San Jose and take that title in California, as well as netting second overall in the Vuelta al Pais Vasco and fourth in the Volta a Catalunya. It was one of his strongest seasons ever, despite the fact that he reached 40 years of age in October.

He also hoped to improve on his tenth place overall in the 2010 Tour de France, but was unlucky to crash hard on stage seven to Châteauroux, hitting his head and being forced out of the race with concussion.

Still, his performances in other events made it clear that he had very strong form, and may have been a contender for another high finish.

Horner believes that learning about himself currently outweighs any decline which takes place as a result of his years. “With the older age comes a great deal of experience. I know the training I need to do and what races I need to go to,” he explained. “I know what I need to do to get in shape and have the condition. I've pretty much eliminated the guesswork.

“When I was younger, I started training in December and I didn't know if the form would show up in March, April, May or June. Now I can pretty much pinpoint the week that I'll be at my best. I guess there are some good things about getting older.”

Horner is moving across with the RadioShack Nissan sponsors to the team currently known as Leopard Trek. Andreas Klöden, Ben Hermans, Ben King, Jesse Sergent and Tiago Machado are some of the other riders who are going from the American to the Luxembourg team. They will join up with top names such as Andy and Frank Schleck, second and third in the 2011 Tour de France, multiple former world TT champion Fabian Cancellara, Jens Voigt and Jakob Fuglsang.

Almost all teams have new riders coming on board each year, but the RadioShack situation marks a very considerable change with so many riders arriving. Fortunately Horner believes that the atmosphere is a good one.

“I think everyone should get along. It seems like a bunch of good guys,” he said. “The main objective of this camp was just to meet and hang out. And the next camp, we'll have a better idea of how everyone's riding together. That camp will be important on how we come together as a team later in the season.”

Horner will expect of himself that he is able to do some big work for others next season. However he’ll also want to seize his own chances, with a desire to add more victories to his palmares in the months ahead.


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