Posts Tagged ‘Chris Horner’
Gumby is back. Yes, he breaks but he always comes back strong. Veteran American rider Chris Horner showed everybody in the Tour of Sardinia he’s feeling few effects from his five major crashes last year.
The bald headed rider from Bend, Oregon put on an impressive display in the queen stage, finishing 2nd to Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas) in an uphill finish on Monte Ortobene. Radio Shack fans should note Jani Brajkovic also jammed hard, taking sixth place.
Horner, who last season crashed out of the Tour of California and Tour of Spain, is definitely feeling better this year. Which is good because his health plan practically cancelled him. “I feel good, very good. Even yesterday I could have won if the profile in the race book would have been correct,” said Horner.
Dimwit race books — who writes those things anyway? Horner was gracious about the Liquigas winner –“Today Kreuziger was stronger. The climb was long but not so steep. Not steep enough for a real climber like me. We had the wind in the back. It was more a finish for riders with the real power in the legs.”
Nice to see that Mr. Horner has his form back in form. He practically had his own Astana MASH unit last season — they ran out of surgical wrap and had to to use duct tape.
He’d broken so many bones he looked like an old G.I Joe doll some kid had mangeled to death. You know, foot twisted backwards, one arm gone, face half melted after torture over barbecue grill flames. Rough stuff, baby.
A month ago in interviews he was still saying his body hurt and that basically at his age and with the number of crashes he’d survived, he was always going to hurt until he hung up the bike. But who wants to give up “The Bike With The Thousand R Logos?”
With three stages to go and Horner only four seconds away from the leader’s jersey, Sardinia is gonna get spicy — like mafia spicy. Chris Horner, ride fast, but mostly keep the bike upright — the boss needs you in July.
It’s been a tough twelve months for American Chris Horner. Major crashes in the Tour of California, Vuelta al Pais Vasco, Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España left him with broken bones, cracks and fractures over his entire body. Not to mention those icky scabs and band-aid wrappers littering the team bus.
The misfortune continued Saturday for the popular rider from Bend, Oregon. Moments after announcing his new two-year contract with Radio Shack, Horner accidentally sliced off a finger on his right hand with a kitchen knife. In the rush to stop the bleeding, Horner slipped and broken his leg.
Then in an attempt to reach the phone to call 911, the former Astana rider tipped over a large trophy case, cracking his skull and damaging the cornea of his left eye when it was struck by his 2002 Redlands Classic trophy.
The oft-injured Horner, whose insurance company refuses to cover his sky-rocketing medical bills, was still up-beat as he was wheeled to a nearby hospital. “I’ve had worse, it’s just a flesh wound,” he said, echoing the famous “black knight” sketch by Monty Python.
Paramedics refused comment on a later report that Horner fell off the operating table, fracturing his wrist.
The Tour de l’Ain is not high up on the cycling radar.
You could be forgiven for drawing a blank on this French race. Not one of the “monuments” of cycling, not a classic or semi classic one day race. Yes, it’s the 2nd biggest race of the year (after the Dauphine Libere) if you live in the Rhone region of France. We’re guessing you don’t.
Nobody waxes lyrical about the Tour de l’Ain, no coffee tables books or stories about how Merckx won or Hinault ruled or how a young Armstrong first showed his greatness. Although Merckx’s son Axel did win in 2003. Bobby Julich won the thing in 1997 but that trophy is probably buried in the garage if not the backyard.
So what is the interest to the serious American cycling fan who follows the major races? Well, it’s got a good villain: Alexandre Vinokourov, back from his two year drug exile in the Kazaks. And you’ve got yourself a hometown favorite to root for in Chris Horner, back from injury and leading the 4 day stage race with one mountain stage to go. Someone to cheer, someone to boo.
And you’ve got a nice little sub-plot to chew on: Horner rides for team Astana, the outfit Vino put together himself with Kazak oil money. The same team Vino in currently in negoiations with to ride for again. Would helping Chris Horner to win the overall for Astana be the thoughful closer move he needs? That’s the hint he dropped. A tidbit that adds a little je ne sais whatever to the boiling pot.
Here’s where we stand so far: Vino won the stage three time trail, his first win since 2007. No word on how the riders feel to have VIno back after his blood doping. Riders returning from suspensions should be required to wear a black jersey to help identify the pariah. Unrepentant, brash and confident, Vino is de retour. He didn’t go quietly and he didn’t come back quietly either. On the flip side, he’s never dull and attacks like a chum-starved shark.
Then we have Chris Horner, whose scary crash and broken tibia in the Giro d’Italia knocked him out of the race and off the Tour de France roster. Add serious crashes in the Tour of the Basque Country and the Tour of California and you’ve got yourself a certifiable crappy year. So a shot at winning the Tour de l’Ain would put a smile on his face. Not the crazed grin of euphoria that comes with a Tour De France stage win, but a smile nonetheless.
Hero and villian — and perhaps a villian who would like to redeem himself. That’s all the story drama a cycling fan needs to get worked up. It’s that little snack between the French and Spanish grand tours. You want Chris Horner to win, baby.