Sunday, September 22, 2013

Horner and the Vuelta

Was really happy to see Horner finally win a grand tour - especially when he was the oldest guy out there.  There are a lot of people saying that something isn't right about his win though.  The problem is, there is no way for anybody except Horner and his coach to know that right now.  The suspicious points:
1) He's old and he has never managed to win a grand tour before, so why now?  Well, he is old, but some older athletes are able to hang on to their endurance really well, if not speed and power.  And a grand tour is all about endurance.  He was forced to sit out the tour de france due to a knee injury, so it makes sense that he was able to specifically peak for the Vuelta when the other contenders were killing themselves at the tour de france and the Giro.  As far as never winning a grand tour before:  he has  ridden as a domestique for his entire career.  And one thing I haven't heard anyone pointing out is that Horner is usually good for a top-15 in the tour de france, despite riding as a domestique.  And more than once he has finished better on the GC than the team leader. Another thing- the Vuelta, being a bit short on the time trials but heavier on the big steep climbs, suits him well.  He certainly lost time in this Vuelta in the time trials but made it up in the mountains.
2)  His defense of Armstrong is weird.  That sort of does make you wonder if he is still in the mindset of doping is OK if you don't get caught.  I've always wondered if Horner was clean during the apex of the EPO years.  Who knows.  I've often wondered how Horner would have fared as a team captain in a clean peloton all those years.
3) The missed drug test on the last day.  On the surface it looks bad but it does seem like he followed the proper procedures and the tester messed up and went looking at the wrong place.  

I have always been a fan of Horner because he is a northwest native, always seems to have a great attitude- as evidenced by things like trying to give interviews in Spanish and giving his competitors a ride on his bike to the finish (Cascade Classic) -and occasionally races cyclocross to boot.  

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