Lampre-Merida on Horner: “Technically a great rider, excellent climber and one of the most intelligent riders in the group”
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Friday, January 31, 2014

Lampre-Merida on Horner: “Technically a great rider, excellent climber and one of the most intelligent riders in the group”

by VeloNation Press at 2:40 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Team manager Copeland explains reasons for signing of American climber

Chris HornerLampre Merida team manager Brent Copeland has said that he believes new signing Chris Horner will have an important role to play in both the Grand Tours he competes in, namely the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a España, and also in acting as a mentor and guide for the younger riders on the team.

The Italian WorldTour squad yesterday confirmed that it had inked a one year deal with the 42 year old American, who became the oldest-ever Grand Tour winner when he triumphed in the Vuelta a España last September.

Horner had been searching for a contract with a top-ranked team for several months, having been unable to reach an agreement with the Trek Factory Racing team. It evolved out of the Radioshack Leopard squad he won the Vuelta with and had wanted to keep him on, but his salary demands were higher than the team was willing to pay.

Horner’s deal with Lampre Merida is based on both a base salary and also sizeable bonuses; the latter will be paid if he hits predetermined targets.

One of his biggest ambitions is to successfully defend his Vuelta a España title.

Copeland pointed out that Horner will be the first American rider to compete for the team since it was set up over twenty years ago.

“This is an important step for us towards making the team even more so international,” he said. “I feel that is important in the modern world of cycling, a step which I feel will bring a lot of interest from the USA. With Chris being the exciting rider that he is, we are looking forward to getting some good feedback from this market.”

He said that the veteran had physical and mental attributes which will be important. “Horner is technically a great rider, excellent climber and one of the most intelligent riders in the group. He will fit nicely in with our team riding for overall GC at the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta, together with the other GC riders who have been these races in their race calendars.

“Technical staff and riders who have ridden with Chris in the past confirm his ability, intelligence and willingness to work together with the team. This brings great value to our young riders who we invest a lot in. We know that we can count on Chris to show them all his experience and knowledge gained during his quality career as a bike rider.”

He acknowledged that Horner is not a young rider, but said that he believed that he would be able to show his full potential.

His racing programme is yet to be finalised but the team has indicated that he will most likely begin competing in the Challenge Mallorca races, which begin on February 9th.

His signing means he will be racing alongside competitors such as the current world road race champion Rui Costa. The Portuguese rider will lead the team in the Tour de France, while Horner will concentrate on the Giro and the Vuelta.

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